Data_Sheet_2_Hypoglycemia-Exacerbated Mitochondrial Connexin 43 Accumulation Aggravates Cardiac Dysfunction in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy.xls (760 kB)
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Data_Sheet_2_Hypoglycemia-Exacerbated Mitochondrial Connexin 43 Accumulation Aggravates Cardiac Dysfunction in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy.xls

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posted on 16.03.2022, 15:04 authored by Xing Wei, Andrew Chia Hao Chang, Haishuang Chang, Shan Xu, Yilin Xue, Yuanxin Zhang, Ming Lei, Alex Chia Yu Chang, Qingyong Zhang

Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a complex multifaceted disease responsible for elevated heart failure (HF) morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). Patients with DCM exhibit subclinical diastolic dysfunction, progression toward systolic impairment, and abnormal electrophysiology. Hypoglycemia events that occur spontaneously or due to excess insulin administration threaten the lives of patients with DM—with the increased risk of sudden death. However, the molecular underpinnings of this fatal disease remain to be elucidated.

Methods and Results

Here, we used the established streptozotocin-induced DCM murine model to investigate how hypoglycemia aggravates DCM progression. We confirmed connexin 43 (Cx43) dissociation from cell–cell interaction and accumulation at mitochondrial inner membrane both in the cardiomyocytes of patients with DM and DCM murine. Here, we observed that cardiac diastolic function, induced by chronic hyperglycemia, was further aggravated upon hypoglycemia challenge. Similar contractile defects were recapitulated using neonatal mouse ventricular myocytes (NMVMs) under glucose fluctuation challenges. Using immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry, we identified and validated that hypoglycemia challenge activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPK kinase) (MEK)/extracellular regulated protein kinase (ERK) and inhibits phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathways, which results in Cx43 phosphorylation by Src protein and translocation to mitochondria in cardiomyocytes. To determine causality, we overexpressed a mitochondrial targeting Cx43 (mtCx43) using adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2)/9. At normal blood glucose levels, mtCx43 overexpression recapitulated cardiac diastolic dysfunction as well as aberrant electrophysiology in vivo. Our findings give support for therapeutic targeting of MEK/ERK/Src and PI3K/Akt/Src pathways to prevent mtCx43-driven DCM.


DCM presents compensatory adaptation of mild mtCx43 accumulation, yet acute hypoglycemia challenges result in further accumulation of mtCx43 through the MEK/ERK/Src and PI3K/Akt/Src pathways. We provide evidence that Cx43 mislocalization is present in hearts of patients with DM hearts, STZ-induced DCM murine model, and glucose fluctuation challenged NMVMs. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that mtCx43 is responsible for inducing aberrant contraction and disrupts electrophysiology in cardiomyocytes and our results support targeting of mtCx43 in treating DCM.