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posted on 27.07.2021, 05:40 by Yinhui Wang, Kun Yu, Chengcheng Zhao, Ling Zhou, Jia Cheng, Dao Wen Wang, Chunxia Zhao

Follistatin (FST) is an endogenous protein that irreversibly inhibits TGF-β superfamily members and plays an anti-fibrotic role in other diseases. However, the role of FST in diabetic cardiomyopathy remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of FST on diabetic cardiomyopathy. The expression of FST was downregulated in the hearts of db/db mice. Remarkably, overexpressing FST efficiently protected against cardiac dysfunction. In addition, overexpression of FST promoted cardiac hypertrophy with an unchanged expression of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and the ratio of myosin heavy chain-β/myosin heavy chain-α (MYH7/MYH6). Furthermore, FST reduced cardiac fibrosis and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and enhanced matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9) activities in db/db mouse hearts. We also observed that overexpressing FST decreased the level of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) superfamily members and the phosphorylation of Smad3; consistently, in vitro experiments also verified the above results. Our findings revealed the cardioprotective role of FST in attenuating diabetic cardiomyopathy through its anti-fibrotic effects through the TGF-β–Smad3 pathway and provided a promising therapeutic strategy for diabetic cardiomyopathy.

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