Cardiomyocytes of the heart and pulmonary veins: Novel contributors to asthma?

Stephen Sai Folmsbee, Cara J. Gottardi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent genome-wide association studies have implicated both cardiac and pulmonary vein-related genes in the pathogenesis of asthma. Since cardiac cells are not present in lung airways or viewed to affect the immune system, interpretation of these findings in the context of more well-established contributors to asthma has remained challenging. However, cardiomyocytes are present in the lung, specifically along pulmonary veins, and recent murine models suggest that cardiac cells lining the pulmonary veins may contribute to allergic airway disease. Notably, the cardiac cell-junction protein aT-catenin (aT-cat, CTNNA3), which is implicated in occupational and steroid-resistant asthma by clinical genetic data, appears to play an important role in regulating inflammation around the cardiac cells of pulmonary veins. Beyond the potential contribution of pulmonary veins, clinical data directly examining cardiac function through echocardiography have found strong associations between asthmatic phenotypes and the mechanical properties of the heart. Together, these data suggest that targeting the function of cardiac cells in the pulmonary veins and/or heart may allow for novel and potentially efficacious therapies for asthma, particularly in challenging cases of steroid-resistant asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-518
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Asthma
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Cell-cell junctions
  • Pulmonary veins
  • α-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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