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Articles by R. M Weiss
Total Records ( 2 ) for R. M Weiss
  D. E Michele , Z Kabaeva , S. L Davis , R. M Weiss and K. P. Campbell

Rationale: Genetic mutations in a number of putative glycosyltransferases lead to the loss of glycosylation of dystroglycan and loss of its laminin-binding activity in genetic forms of human muscular dystrophy. Human patients and glycosylation defective myd mice develop cardiomyopathy with loss of dystroglycan matrix receptor function in both striated and smooth muscle.

Objective: To determine the functional role of dystroglycan in cardiac muscle and smooth muscle in the development of cardiomyopathy in muscular dystrophies.

Methods and Results: Using cre/lox–mediated gene targeting, we show here that loss of dystroglycan function in ventricular cardiac myocytes is sufficient to induce a progressive cardiomyopathy in mice characterized by focal cardiac fibrosis, increase in cardiac mass, and dilatation ultimately leading to heart failure. In contrast, disruption of dystroglycan in smooth muscle is not sufficient to induce cardiomyopathy. The specific loss of dystroglycan function in cardiac myocytes causes the accumulation of large, clustered patches of myocytes with membrane damage, which increase in number in response to exercise-induced cardiac stress, whereas exercised mice with normal dystroglycan expression accumulate membrane damage limited to individual myocytes.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest dystroglycan function as an extracellular matrix receptor in cardiac myocytes plays a primary role in limiting myocardial damage from spreading to neighboring cardiac myocytes, and loss of dystroglycan matrix receptor function in cardiac muscle cells is likely important in the development of cardiomyopathy in glycosylation-deficient muscular dystrophies.

  S Wei , A Guo , B Chen , W Kutschke , Y. P Xie , K Zimmerman , R. M Weiss , M. E Anderson , H Cheng and L. S. Song

The transverse tubule (T-tubule) system is the ultrastructural substrate for excitation–contraction coupling in ventricular myocytes; T-tubule disorganization and loss are linked to decreased contractility in end stage heart failure (HF).


We sought to examine (1) whether pathological T-tubule remodeling occurs early in compensated hypertrophy and, if so, how it evolves during the transition from hypertrophy to HF; and (2) the role of junctophilin-2 in T-tubule remodeling.

Methods and Results:

We investigated T-tubule remodeling in relation to ventricular function during HF progression using state-of-the-art confocal imaging of T-tubules in intact hearts, using a thoracic aortic banding rat HF model. We developed a quantitative T-tubule power (TTpower) index to represent the integrity of T-tubule structure. We found that discrete local loss and global reorganization of the T-tubule system (leftward shift of TTpower histogram) started early in compensated hypertrophy in left ventricular (LV) myocytes, before LV dysfunction, as detected by echocardiography. With progression from compensated hypertrophy to early and late HF, T-tubule remodeling spread from the LV to the right ventricle, and TTpower histograms of both ventricles gradually shifted leftward. The mean LV TTpower showed a strong correlation with ejection fraction and heart weight to body weight ratio. Over the progression to HF, we observed a gradual reduction in the expression of a junctophilin protein (JP-2) implicated in the formation of T-tubule/sarcoplasmic reticulum junctions. Furthermore, we found that JP-2 knockdown by gene silencing reduced T-tubule structure integrity in cultured adult ventricular myocytes.


T-tubule remodeling in response to thoracic aortic banding stress begins before echocardiographically detectable LV dysfunction and progresses over the development of overt structural heart disease. LV T-tubule remodeling is closely associated with the severity of cardiac hypertrophy and predicts LV function. Thus, T-tubule remodeling may constitute a key mechanism underlying the transition from compensated hypertrophy to HF.

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