Murine hyaluronidase 2 deficiency results in extracellular hyaluronan accumulation and severe cardiopulmonary dysfunction

Biswajit Chowdhury, Richard Hemming, Sabine Hombach-Klonisch, Bruno Flamion, Barbara Triggs-Raine

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Hyaluronidase (HYAL) 2 is a membrane-anchored protein that is proposed to hydrolyze hyaluronan (HA) to smaller fragments that are internalized for breakdown. Initial studies of a Hyal2 knock-out (KO) mouse revealed a mild phenotype with high serum HA, supporting a role for HYAL2 in HA breakdown. We now describe a severe cardiac phenotype, deemed acute, in 54% of Hyal2 KO mice on an outbred background; Hyal2 KO mice without the severe cardiac phenotype were designated non-acute. Histological studies of the heart revealed that the valves of all Hyal2 KO mice were expanded and the extracellular matrix was disorganized. HA was detected throughout the expanded valves, and electron microscopy confirmed that the accumulating material, presumed to be HA, was extracellular. Both acute and non-acute Hyal2 KO mice also exhibited increased HA in the interstitial extracellular matrix of atrial cardiomyocytes compared with control mice. Consistent with the changes in heart structure, upper ventricular cardiomyocytes in acute Hyal2 KOmice demonstrated significant hypertrophy compared with non-acuteKOand control mice. When the lungs were examined, evidence of severe fibrosis was detected in acute Hyal2 KO mice but not in non-acute Hyal2 KOor control mice. TotalserumandheartHAlevels, as well as size, were increased in acute and non-acute Hyal2 KO mice compared with control mice. These findings indicate that HYAL2 is essential for the breakdown of extracellular HA. In its absence, extracellular HA accumulates and, in some cases, can lead to cardiopulmonary dysfunction. Alterations in HYAL2 function should be considered as a potential contributor to cardiac pathologies in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2013


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