Constitutive glycogen synthase kinase-3α/β activity protects against chronic β-adrenergic remodelling of the heart

Ian G. Webb, Yasuhiro Nishino, James E. Clark, Colin Murdoch, Simon J. Walker, Marcus R. Makowski, Rene M. Botnar, Simon R. Redwood, Ajay M. Shah, Michael S. Marber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) signalling is implicated in the growth of the heart during development and in response to stress. However, its precise role remains unclear. We set out to characterize developmental growth and response to chronic isoproterenol (ISO) stress in knockin (KI) mice lacking the critical N-terminal serines, 21 of GSK-3α and 9 of GSK-3β respectively, required for inactivation by upstream kinases.
Methods and results

Between 5 and 15 weeks, KI mice grew more rapidly, but normalized heart weight and contractile performance were similar to wild-type (WT) mice. Isolated hearts of both genotypes responded comparably to acute ISO infusion with increases in heart rate and contractility. In WT mice, chronic subcutaneous ISO infusion over 14 days resulted in cardiac hypertrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and impaired contractility, accompanied by foetal gene reactivation. These effects were all significantly attenuated in KI mice. Indeed, ISO-treated KI hearts demonstrated reversible physiological remodelling traits with increased stroke volume and a preserved contractile response to acute adrenergic stimulation. Furthermore, simultaneous pharmacological inhibition of GSK-3 in KI mice treated with chronic subcutaneous ISO recapitulated the adverse remodelling phenotype seen in WT hearts.

Expression of inactivation-resistant GSK-3α/β does not affect eutrophic myocardial growth but protects against pathological hypertrophy induced by chronic adrenergic stimulation, maintaining cardiac function and attenuating interstitial fibrosis. Accordingly, strategies to prevent phosphorylation of Ser-21/9, and consequent inactivation of GSK-3α/β, may enable a sustained cardiac response to chronic β-agonist stimulation while preventing pathological remodelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-503
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number3
Early online date17 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2010. For permissions please email:
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  • GSK-3
  • remodelling
  • cardiac hypertrophy


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