Vitamin D Stimulates Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Controls Organ Size and Regeneration in Zebrafish. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Attaining proper organ size during development and regeneration hinges on the activity of mitogenic factors. Here, we performed a large-scale chemical screen in embryonic zebrafish to identify cardiomyocyte mitogens. Although commonly considered anti-proliferative, vitamin D analogs like alfacalcidol had rapid, potent mitogenic effects on embryonic and adult cardiomyocytes in┬ávivo. Moreover, pharmacologic or genetic manipulation of vitamin D signaling controlled proliferation in multiple adult cell types and dictated growth rates in embryonic and juvenile zebrafish. Tissue-specific modulation of vitamin D receptor (VDR) signaling had organ-restricted effects, with cardiac VDR activation causing cardiomegaly. Alfacalcidol enhanced the regenerative response of injured zebrafish hearts, whereas VDR blockade inhibited regeneration. Alfacalcidol activated cardiac expression of genes associated with ErbB2 signaling, while ErbB2 inhibition blunted its effects on cell proliferation. Our findings identify vitamin D as mitogenic for cardiomyocytes and other cell types in zebrafish and indicate a mechanism to regulate organ size and regeneration.

publication date

  • January 30, 2019