The G protein coupled receptor APJ is a promising therapeutic target for heart failure. Constitutive deletion of APJ in the mouse is protective against the hypertrophy-heart failure transition via elimination of ligand-independent, beta-arrestin dependent stretch transduction. However, the cellular origin of this stretch transduction and the details of its interaction with apelin signaling remain unknown. We generated mice with conditional elimination of APJ in the endothelium (APJendo-/-) and myocardium (APJmyo-/-). No baseline difference was observed in LV function in APJendo-/-, APJmyo-/- or controls (APJendo+/+, APJmyo+/+). After exposure to transaortic constriction (TAC), APJendo-/- animals developed left ventricular failure while APJmyo-/- were protected. At the cellular level, carbon fiber stretch of freshly isolated single cardiomyocytes demonstrated decreased contractile response to stretch in APJ-/- cardiomyocytes compared to APJ+/+ cardiomyocytes. Calcium transient did not change with stretch in either APJ-/- or APJ+/+ cardiomyocytes. Application of apelin to APJ+/+ cardiomyocytes resulted in decreased calcium transient. Further, hearts of mice treated with apelin exhibited decreased phosphorylation at Troponin I (cTnI) N-terminal residues (Ser 22,23), consistent with increased calcium sensitivity. These data establish that APJ stretch transduction is mediated specifically by myocardial APJ, that APJ is necessary for stretch-induced increases in contractility, and that apelin opposes APJ's stretch-mediated hypertrophy signaling by lowering calcium transient while maintaining contractility through myofilament calcium sensitization. These findings underscore apelin's unique potential as a therapeutic agent that can simultaneously support cardiac function and protect against the hypertrophy-heart failure transition.
View details for PubMedID 29775410