ST2 is an IL-1 receptor family member with transmembrane (ST2L) and soluble (sST2) isoforms. sST2 is a mechanically induced cardiomyocyte protein, and serum sST2 levels predict outcome in patients with acute myocardial infarction or chronic heart failure. Recently, IL-33 was identified as a functional ligand of ST2L, allowing exploration of the role of ST2 in myocardium. We found that IL-33 was a biomechanically induced protein predominantly synthesized by cardiac fibroblasts. IL-33 markedly antagonized angiotensin II– and phenylephrine-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Although IL-33 activated NF-κB, it inhibited angiotensin II– and phenylephrine-induced phosphorylation of inhibitor of NF-κBα (IκBα) and NF-κB nuclear binding activity. sST2 blocked antihypertrophic effects of IL-33, indicating that sST2 functions in myocardium as a soluble decoy receptor. Following pressure overload by transverse aortic constriction (TAC), ST2–/– mice had more left ventricular hypertrophy, more chamber dilation, reduced fractional shortening, more fibrosis, and impaired survival compared with WT littermates. Furthermore, recombinant IL-33 treatment reduced hypertrophy and fibrosis and improved survival after TAC in WT mice, but not in ST2–/– littermates. Thus, IL-33/ST2 signaling is a mechanically activated, cardioprotective fibroblast-cardiomyocyte paracrine system, which we believe to be novel. IL-33 may have therapeutic potential for beneficially regulating the myocardial response to overload.
Shoji Sanada, Daihiko Hakuno, Luke J. Higgins, Eric R. Schreiter, Andrew N.J. McKenzie, Richard T. Lee