Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a hereditary disease of the heart muscle. Clinical challenges remain, however, in identifying patients with ARVC in the early or concealed stages with subtle clinical manifestations. Therefore, we wanted to identify potential targets by immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis in comparison with controls. Pathogenic mutations were identified in 11 of 37 autopsied patients with ARVC. As observed from IHC analysis of the RV, expression of αT-catenin and plakophilin-2 is significantly decreased in autopsied patients with ARVC as compared to controls, and the decreased expression is consistent in patients with and without pathogenic mutations. Furthermore, ARVC specimens demonstrated a reduced localization of αT-catenin, desmocollin-2, desmoglein-2, desmoplakin, and plakophilin-2 on intercalated discs. These findings have been validated by comparing RV specimens obtained via endomyocardial biopsy between patients with ARVC and those without. The pathogenic mutation was present in 3 of 5 clinical patients with ARVC. In HL-1 myocytes, siRNA was used to knockdown CTNNA3, and western blotting analysis demonstrated that the decline in αT-catenin expression was accompanied by a significant decline in the expression of plakophilin-2. The aforementioned effect was directed towards protein degradation rather than mRNA stability. Plakophilin-2 expression decreases concurrently with the decline in CTNNA3 expression. Therefore, the expression of αT-catenin and plakophilin-2 could be potential surrogates for the diagnosis of ARVC.
- arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
- immunohistochemistry staining