Cardiomyopathy caused by lamin A/C gene mutations ( LMNA cardiomyopathy) is characterized by increased myocardial fibrosis, which impairs left ventricular relaxation and predisposes to heart failure, and cardiac conduction abnormalities. While we previously discovered abnormally elevated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activities in heart in LMNA cardiomyopathy, its role on the development of myocardial fibrosis remains unclear. We now showed that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/Smad signaling participates in the activation of ERK1/2 signaling in LMNA cardiomyopathy. ERK1/2 acts on connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) expression to mediate the myocardial fibrosis and left ventricular dysfunction. Studies in vivo demonstrate that inhibiting CTGF/CCN2 using a specific antibody decreases myocardial fibrosis and improves the left ventricular dysfunction. Together, these findings show that cardiac ERK1/2 activity is modulated in part by TGF-β/Smad signaling, leading to altered activation of CTGF/CCN2 to mediate fibrosis and alter cardiac function. This identifies a novel mechanism in the development of LMNA cardiomyopathy.

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