Reducing RBM20 activity improves diastolic dysfunction and cardiac atrophy


  • F. Hinze
  • C. Dieterich
  • M.H. Radke
  • H. Granzier
  • M. Gotthardt


  • Journal of Molecular Medicine


  • J Mol Med 94 (12): 1349-1358


  • Impaired diastolic filling is a main contributor to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a syndrome with increasing prevalence and no treatment. Both collagen and the giant sarcomeric protein titin determine diastolic function. Since titin's elastic properties can be adjusted physiologically, we evaluated titin-based stiffness as a therapeutic target. We adjusted RBM20-dependent cardiac isoform expression in the titin N2B knockout mouse with increased ventricular stiffness. A ~50 % reduction of RBM20 activity does not only maintain cardiac filling in diastole but also ameliorates cardiac atrophy and thus improves cardiac function in the N2B-deficient heart. Reduced RBM20 activity partially normalized gene expression related to muscle development and fatty acid metabolism. The adaptation of cardiac growth was related to hypertrophy signaling via four-and-a-half lim-domain proteins (FHLs) that translate mechanical input into hypertrophy signals. We provide a novel link between cardiac isoform expression and trophic signaling via FHLs and suggest cardiac splicing as a therapeutic target in diastolic dysfunction. KEY MESSAGE: Increasing the length of titin isoforms improves ventricular filling in heart disease. FHL proteins are regulated via RBM20 and adapt cardiac growth. RBM20 is a therapeutic target in diastolic dysfunction.