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Paper of the Month: April 2024

Age-Dependent RGS5 Loss in Pericytes Induces Cardiac Dysfunction and Fibrosis.

Circ Res.
Tamiato A, Tombor LS, Fischer A, Muhly-Reinholz M, Vanicek LR, Toğru BN, Neitz J, Glaser SF, Merten M, Rodriguez Morales D, Kwon J, Klatt S, Schumacher B, Günther S, Abplanalp WT, John D, Fleming I, Wettschureck N, Dimmeler S, Luxán G.

Young talented CPI researcher Anita Tamiato and colleagues from Goethe University Frankfurt show in their work that pericyte coverage is reduced in the ageing heart.

Pericytes wrap around endothelial cells of blood vessels, where they support vascular stability and tissue homeostasis. Aged pericytes show a reduction in RGS5 gene expression, which induces a profibrotic response that drives myocardial fibrosis and systolic dysfunction in the heart. Mechanistically, RGS5 loss in pericytes induces fibroblast activation in a Gαq-TGFβ-dependent mechanism.

Our results underline the importance of pericytes in maintaining cardiac homeostasis and show for the first time that RGS5 is not only a mere pericyte marker, but also a crucial role in the maintenance of pericyte function to prevent a pro-fibrotic response in these cells. This work highlights the importance of maintaining pericyte homeostasis and may serve as a target for potential new therapies to prevent adverse cardiac remodeling.

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