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Two papers published in collaboration with Pavlinkova lab

Dysregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α in the sympathetic nervous system accelerates diabetic cardiomyopathy
. Hrabalova P, Bohuslavova R, Matejkova K, Papousek F, Sedmera D, Abaffy P, Kolar F, Pavlinkova G. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2023 Apr 18;22(1):88. doi: 10.1186/s12933-023-01824-5.


Background: An altered sympathetic nervous system is implicated in many cardiac pathologies, ranging from sudden infant death syndrome to common diseases of adulthood such as hypertension, myocardial ischemia, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and heart failure. Although the mechanisms responsible for disruption of this well-organized system are the subject of intensive investigations, the exact processes controlling the cardiac sympathetic nervous system are still not fully understood. A conditional knockout of the Hif1a gene was reported to affect the development of sympathetic ganglia and sympathetic innervation of the heart. This study characterized how the combination of HIF-1α deficiency and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes affects the cardiac sympathetic nervous system and heart function of adult animals.

Methods: Molecular characteristics of Hif1a deficient sympathetic neurons were identified by RNA sequencing. Diabetes was induced in Hif1a knockout and control mice by low doses of STZ treatment. Heart function was assessed by echocardiography. Mechanisms involved in adverse structural remodeling of the myocardium, i.e. advanced glycation end products, fibrosis, cell death, and inflammation, was assessed by immunohistological analyses.

Results: We demonstrated that the deletion of Hif1a alters the transcriptome of sympathetic neurons, and that diabetic mice with the Hif1a-deficient sympathetic system have significant systolic dysfunction, worsened cardiac sympathetic innervation, and structural remodeling of the myocardium.

Conclusions: We provide evidence that the combination of diabetes and the Hif1a deficient sympathetic nervous system results in compromised cardiac performance and accelerated adverse myocardial remodeling, associated with the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy.


ISL1 controls pancreatic alpha cell fate and beta cell maturation. Bohuslavova R, Fabriciova V, Lebrón-Mora L, Malfatti J, Smolik O, Valihrach L, Benesova S, Zucha D, Berkova Z, Saudek F, Evans SM, Pavlinkova G. Cell Biosci. 2023 Mar 10;13(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13578-023-01003-9.


Background: Glucose homeostasis is dependent on functional pancreatic α and ß cells. The mechanisms underlying the generation and maturation of these endocrine cells remain unclear.

Results: We unravel the molecular mode of action of ISL1 in controlling α cell fate and the formation of functional ß cells in the pancreas. By combining transgenic mouse models, transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling, we uncover that elimination of Isl1 results in a diabetic phenotype with a complete loss of α cells, disrupted pancreatic islet architecture, downregulation of key ß-cell regulators and maturation markers of ß cells, and an enrichment in an intermediate endocrine progenitor transcriptomic profile.

Conclusions: Mechanistically, apart from the altered transcriptome of pancreatic endocrine cells, Isl1 elimination results in altered silencing H3K27me3 histone modifications in the promoter regions of genes that are essential for endocrine cell differentiation. Our results thus show that ISL1 transcriptionally and epigenetically controls α cell fate competence, and ß cell maturation, suggesting that ISL1 is a critical component for generating functional α and ß cells.