Extracellular Histone-Induced Protein Kinase C Alpha Activation and Troponin Phosphorylation Is a Potential Mechanism of Cardiac Contractility Depression in Sepsis

Simon T. Abrams, Yasir Alhamdi, Min Zi, Fengmei Guo, Min Du, Guozheng Wang, Elizabeth J. Cartwright, Cheng-Hock Toh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reduction in cardiac contractility is common in severe sepsis. However, the pathological mechanism is still not fully understood. Recently it has been found that circulating histones released after extensive immune cell death play important roles in multiple organ injury and disfunction, particularly in cardiomyocyte injury and contractility reduction. How extracellular histones cause cardiac contractility depression is still not fully clear. In this work, using cultured cardiomyocytes and a histone infusion mouse model, we demonstrate that clinically relevant histone concentrations cause significant increases in intracellular calcium concentrations with subsequent activation and enriched localization of calcium-dependent protein kinase C (PKC) α and βII into the myofilament fraction of cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, histones induced dose-dependent phosphorylation of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) at the PKC-regulated phosphorylation residues (S43 and T144) in cultured cardiomyocytes, which was also confirmed in murine cardiomyocytes following intravenous histone injection. Specific inhibitors against PKCα and PKCβII revealed that histone-induced cTnI phosphorylation was mainly mediated by PKCα activation, but not PKCβII. Blocking PKCα also significantly abrogated histone-induced deterioration in peak shortening, duration and the velocity of shortening, and re-lengthening of cardiomyocyte contractility. These in vitro and in vivo findings collectively indicate a potential mechanism of histone-induced cardiomyocyte dysfunction driven by PKCα activation with subsequent enhanced phosphorylation of cTnI. These findings also indicate a potential mechanism of clinical cardiac dysfunction in sepsis and other critical illnesses with high levels of circulating histones, which holds the potential translational benefit to these patients by targeting circulating histones and downstream pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3225
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • cardiac contractility
  • phosphorylation
  • protein kinase C (PKC)
  • sepsis
  • troponin

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