Neuregulins: protective and reparative growth factors in multiple forms of cardiovascular disease

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Clinical science (London, England : 1979)

MeSH Headings

Animals; Cardiotonic Agents (metabolism); Cardiovascular Diseases (blood, metabolism); Clinical Trials as Topic; Humans; Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins (metabolism); Neovascularization, Physiologic; Neuregulins (blood, metabolism)


Neuregulins (NRGs) are protein ligands that act through ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases to regulate tissue morphogenesis, plasticity, and adaptive responses to physiologic needs in multiple tissues, including the heart and circulatory system. The role of NRG/ErbB signaling in cardiovascular biology, and how it responds to physiologic and pathologic stresses is a rapidly evolving field. While initial concepts focused on the role that NRG may play in regulating cardiac myocyte responses, including cell survival, growth, adaptation to stress, and proliferation, emerging data support a broader role for NRGs in the regulation of metabolism, inflammation, and fibrosis in response to injury. The constellation of effects modulated by NRGs may account for the findings that two distinct forms of recombinant NRG-1 have beneficial effects on cardiac function in humans with systolic heart failure. NRG-4 has recently emerged as an adipokine with similar potential to regulate cardiovascular responses to inflammation and injury. Beyond systolic heart failure, NRGs appear to have beneficial effects in diastolic heart failure, prevention of atherosclerosis, preventing adverse effects on diabetes on the heart and vasculature, including atherosclerosis, as well as the cardiac dysfunction associated with sepsis. Collectively, this literature supports the further examination of how this developmentally critical signaling system functions and how it might be leveraged to treat cardiovascular disease.

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