Cardiac pressure overload induces a shift towards the fetal form of major proteins expressed by the myocytes, and an accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. One of them, fibronectin (FN), accumulates soon after the imposition of pressure overload. Because FN exists both as cellular FN (c-FN) locally synthesized by nonmuscle cells and as "plasma-FN" (p-FN) synthesized by the hepatocytes, the first issue of this study was to determine whether FN accumulation within the myocardium in response to pressure overload is paralleled by a local increase in mRNA. The expression of c-FN isoforms being developmentally regulated in a tissue-specific manner, the types of FN exons expressed by cardiac cells were analyzed. Pressure overload was induced in 25-d-old rats by stenosis of the thoracic aorta. Using in situ hybridization, we show that the mRNAs encoding the fetal forms of c-FN are accumulated in the interstitial tissue of fetal rat hearts but are absent in adult. 1-3 d after aortic stenosis, the fetal forms of c-FN mRNAs were found in the wall of coronary arteries and in focal areas of the myocardium. Thus nonmuscle cells and smooth muscle cells, like myocytes, do respond to pressure overload by reexpressing fetal gene transcripts.
J L Samuel, A Barrieux, S Dufour, I Dubus, F Contard, V Koteliansky, F Farhadian, F Marotte, J P Thiéry, L Rappaport