Transient inhibition of neddylation at neonatal stage evokes reversible cardiomyopathy and predisposes the heart to isoproterenol-induced heart failure

Jianqiu Zou, Wenxia Ma, Rodney Littlejohn, Jie Li, Brian Kevin Stansfield, Il-man Kim, Jinbao Liu, Jiliang Zhou, Neal L. Weintraub, Huabo Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Alterations in perinatal conditions (such as preterm birth) is linked to adult health and disease, in particular, the cardiovascular system. Neddylation, a novel posttrans-lational modification through which the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 is conjugated to protein substrates, has emerged as an important mechanism regulating embryonic cardiac chamber maturation. However, the importance of neddylation in postpartum cardiac development has not been investigated. Here, we aimed to determine whether transient, postnatal inhibition of neddylation has immediate and prolonged impact on the structure and function of the neonatal and adult hearts. Sprague-Dawley pups were given three intraperitoneal injections of MLN4924 (MLN), a specific neddylation inhibitor, at postnatal days (P)1, 3, and 5. Cardiac structure and function were temporally assessed during aging and after 2 wk of isoproterenol (ISO) infusion in adulthood. MLN treatment resulted in modest reduction of neddylated proteins in neonatal hearts. The MLN-treated rats developed cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction by P7, which was accompanied by significantly reduced cardiomyocyte proliferation. At 3 mo of age, cardiac contractile function was restored in MLN-treated rats, but MLN-treated hearts displayed hypertrophic phenotype. Whereas ISO infusion triggered compensatory cardiac hypertrophy without impairing cardiac contractility in the control rats, the MLN-treated rats displayed a similar degree of hypertrophy, which quickly progressed to decompensation with ventricular wall thinning, chamber dilatation, and reduced ejection fraction as well as exacerbated pathological cardiac remodeling. Our findings suggest that neddylation is required for postnatal cardiac development and that perturbation of neddylation during development predisposes adult hearts to cardiac failure under stress conditions. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Our study demonstrates that perinatal perturbation of neddylation induces cardiomyopathy, impairs postnatal cardiac development, and increases susceptibility to catechol-amine-induced cardiac dysfunction. The results reveal a previously unappreciated role of neddylation in postnatal cardiac maturation and call for close monitoring for the potential cardiotoxicity of MLN4924 (pevonedistat) and other agents that modify neddylation, especially in pregnant women and preadolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1406-H1416
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Cardiomyocyte proliferation
  • Heart failure
  • Isoproterenol
  • MLN4924
  • Neddylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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