Department of Cardiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Key Laboratory of Cardiac Injury and Repair of Henan Province, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450000, China; Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Mouse mast cell protease-4 (mMCP4) is a chymase that has been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction (MI). This study tested a direct role of mMCP4 in mouse post-MI cardiac dysfunction and myocardial remodeling. Immunoblot and immunofluorescent double staining demonstrated mMCP4 expression in cardiomyocytes from the infarct zone from mouse heart at 28 day post-MI. At this time point, mMCP4-deficient Mcpt4-/- mice showed no difference in survival from wild-type (WT) control mice, yet demonstrated smaller infarct size, improved cardiac functions, reduced macrophage content but increased T-cell accumulation in the infarct region compared with those of WT littermates. mMCP4-deficiency also reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and expression of TGF-β1, p-Smad2, and p-Smad3 in the infarct region, but did not affect collagen deposition or α-smooth muscle actin expression in the same area. Gelatin gel zymography and immunoblot analysis revealed reduced activities of matrix metalloproteinases and expression of cysteinyl cathepsins in the myocardium, macrophages, and T cells from Mcpt4-/- mice. Immunoblot analysis also found reduced p-Smad2 and p-Smad3 in the myocardium from Mcpt4-/- mice, yet fibroblasts from Mcpt4-/- mice showed comparable levels of p-Smad2 and p-Smad3 to those of WT fibroblasts. Flow cytometry, immunoblot analysis, and immunofluorescent staining demonstrated that mMCP4-deficiency reduced the expression of proapoptotic cathepsins in cardiomyocytes and protected cardiomyocytes from H2O2-induced apoptosis. This study established a role of mMCP4 in mouse post-MI dysfunction by regulating myocardial protease expression and cardiomyocyte death without significant impact on myocardial fibrosis or survival post-MI in mice.