The mammalian heart has a remarkable regenerative capacity for a short period of time after birth, after which the majority of cardiomyocytes permanently exit cell cycle. We sought to determine the primary postnatal event that results in cardiomyocyte cell-cycle arrest. We hypothesized that transition to the oxygen-rich postnatal environment is the upstream signal that results in cell-cycle arrest of cardiomyocytes. Here, we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative DNA damage, and DNA damage response (DDR) markers significantly increase in the heart during the first postnatal week. Intriguingly, postnatal hypoxemia, ROS scavenging, or inhibition of DDR all prolong the postnatal proliferative window of cardiomyocytes, whereas hyperoxemia and ROS generators shorten it. These findings uncover a protective mechanism that mediates cardiomyocyte cell-cycle arrest in exchange for utilization of oxygen-dependent aerobic metabolism. Reduction of mitochondrial-dependent oxidative stress should be an important component of cardiomyocyte proliferation-based therapeutic approaches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)