CAR links hypoxia signaling to improved survival after myocardial infarction


  • F. Freiberg
  • M. Thakkar
  • W. Hamann
  • J. Lopez Carballo
  • R. Jüttner
  • F.K. Voss
  • P.M. Becher
  • D. Westermann
  • C. Tschöpe
  • A. Heuser
  • O. Rocks
  • R. Fischer
  • M. Gotthardt


  • Experimental and Molecular Medicine


  • Exp Mol Med 55 (3): 643-652


  • The coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) mediates homo- and heterotopic interactions between neighboring cardiomyocytes at the intercalated disc. CAR is upregulated in the hypoxic areas surrounding myocardial infarction (MI). To elucidate whether CAR contributes to hypoxia signaling and MI pathology, we used a gain- and loss-of-function approach in transfected HEK293 cells, H9c2 cardiomyocytes and CAR knockout mice. CAR overexpression increased RhoA activity, HIF-1α expression and cell death in response to chemical and physical hypoxia. In vivo, we subjected cardiomyocyte-specific CAR knockout (KO) and wild-type mice (WT) to coronary artery ligation. Survival was drastically improved in KO mice with largely preserved cardiac function as determined by echocardiography. Histological analysis revealed a less fibrotic, more compact lesion. Thirty days after MI, there was no compensatory hypertrophy or reduced cardiac output in hearts from CAR KO mice, in contrast to control mice with increased heart weight and reduced ejection fraction as signs of the underlying pathology. Based on these findings, we suggest CAR as a therapeutic target for the improved future treatment or prevention of myocardial infarction.