Background: β-Catenin/T-cell factor 4 (TCF4) signaling is enhanced in ischemic heart disease in which ventricular tachycardia (VT)/ventricular fibrillation occurs frequently. How this signaling links to arrhythmogenesis remains unclear. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of β-catenin gain of function in the development of arrhythmia. Methods: A mouse model with a conditional deletion of CTNNB1 exon 3 resulting in cardiac exon 3–deleted and stabilized β-catenin (β-catΔE3) was used to determine the role of β-catenin gain of function in the regulation of cardiac rhythm. Results: Western blotting showed β-catΔE3 expression and significantly decreased NaV1.5 protein in CTNNB1 E3−/− and CTNNB1 E3+/− mouse hearts. Real-time qRT-PCR revealed significantly decreased NaV1.5 messenger RNA with no changes in Na+ channel β1 to β4 expression in these hearts. Immunofluorescence revealed accumulation of β-catΔE3 in the nuclei of CTNNB1 E3−/− cardiomyocytes. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated nuclear localization of β-catenin in cardiomyocytes, which was associated with significantly decreased NaV1.5 messenger RNA in human ischemic hearts. Immunoprecipitation revealed that β-catΔE3 interacted with TCF4 in CTNNB1 E3−/− cardiomyocytes. Whole-cell recordings showed that Na+ currents and depolarization and amplitude of action potentials were significantly decreased in CTNNB1 E3−/− ventricular myocytes. Electrocardiographic recordings demonstrated that in mice with cardiac CTNNB1 E3−/−, the QRS complex was prolonged and VT was induced by the Na+ channel blocker flecainide. However, cardiac function, as determined by echocardiography and heart/body weight ratios, remained unchanged. Conclusion: Enhancement of β-catenin/TCF4 signaling led to the prolongation of the QRS complex and increase in susceptibility to VT by suppression of NaV1.5 expression and Na+ channel activity in mice.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants R01HL122793 [to Dr Xu] and R01HL111480 [to Dr Li]) and the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington Medical Center (to Dr Xu).
© 2019 Heart Rhythm Society
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Na channel