Mechanism of fibrotic cardiomyopathy in mice expressing truncated Rho-associated coiled-coil protein kinase 1. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have previously found that in failing human hearts, Rho-associated coiled-coil protein kinase 1 (ROCK1) is processed by caspase-3 into an active isoform, ROCK1. The purpose of the current investigation was to elucidate the pathological consequences of truncated ROCK1 accumulation in the heart, the associated molecular mechanism of ROCK1-mediated cardiac phenotype, and the molecular signaling between Rho kinase activation in cardiomyocytes and extracellular matrix response. We generated transgenic mice expressing ROCK1 in cardiomyocytes to mimic the situation observed in human heart disease, whereas an additional kinase-deficient mouse was generated as a control. The ROCK1 transgenic mice developed fibrotic cardiomyopathy with diastolic dysfunction. Transgenic hearts displayed activated TGF1 and NF-B signaling and a release of a subset of cytokines and were susceptible to angiotensin II stress. Treatment with a Rho kinase inhibitor attenuated the fibrotic phenotype. Cardiac fibroblasts differentiated into myofibroblasts when cocultured with transgenic cardiomyocytes but not with wild-type cardiomyocytes. Inhibitors of Rho kinase as well as TGFR1 and NF-B decreased these effects. The serum response factor-dependent TGF1 regulation was shown to be responsible for the Rho kinase-mediated activation of TGF1 signaling. We conclude that ROCK1 is a novel fibrotic factor. Activation of TGF1 and NF-B signaling contributes to the Rho kinase-mediated pathological fibrosis.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, X., Li, Q. i., Lin, X. i., Ma, Y., Yue, X., Tao, Z., ... Chang, J.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Xiangsheng||Li, Qi||Lin, Xi||Ma, Yanlin||Yue, Xiaojing||Tao, Zhenyin||Wang, Fen||Mckeehan, Wallace L||Wei, Lei||Schwartz, Robert J||Chang, Jiang

publication date

  • May 2012