Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Biomedical Sciences

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Krishna Singh

Committee Members

Thomas W. Ecay, William L. Joyner, Chuanfu Li, Phillip R. Musich, Mahipal Singh


Ataxia telangiectasia (AT), caused by mutations in the gene encoding ataxia telangiectasia mutated kinase (ATM), is a rare autosomal recessive disorder. AT individuals exhibit neuronal degeneration and are predisposed to cancer. Carriers of this disorder are predisposed to cancer and ischemic heart disease. Heart disease, mostly due to myocardial infarction (MI), is a leading cause of death in the US. Following MI, release of catecholamines in the heart stimulates β- adrenergic receptors (β-AR). Our lab has shown that β-AR stimulation increases ATM expression in the heart and myocytes, and ATM plays an important role in β-AR-stimulated myocardial remodeling with effects on function, fibrosis and apoptosis. Using wild-type (WT) and ATM heterozygous knockout (hKO) mice, this study investigated the role of ATM in the inflammatory, proliferative and maturation phases of infarct healing post-MI. During the inflammatory phase, 1 and 3 days post-MI, a deficiency of ATM resulted in decreased left ventricular dilation as measured by echocardiography. It decreased the number of neutrophils and macrophages in the heart 1 day post-MI. Myocardial fibrosis, expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-sma) and apoptosis were higher in the infarct region of ATM deficient hearts. Akt activation (anti-apoptotic) was lower, while Bax expression (pro-apoptotic) was higher in the infarct region of ATM deficient hearts. During the proliferative phase, 7 days post-MI, ATM deficiency attenuated cardiac dysfunction as measured by echocardiography. ATM deficient hearts exhibited increased fibrosis and expression of α-sma in the infarct region with increased myocyte apoptosis in the border area. During the maturation phase, 14 and 28 days post-MI, ATM deficiency resulted in exaggerated cardiac function. It associated with increased fibrosis, expression of α-sma and decreased cardiac cell apoptosis in the infarct region 28 days post-MI. Myocyte hypertrophy was greater in the non-infarct region during ATM deficiency. ATM deficiency decreased expression of p16 (marker of cell senescence) and activation of proapoptotic protein, GSK-3β. Thus, ATM modulates the remodeling processes of the heart including function, fibrosis, apoptosis and hypertrophy post-MI. ATM (1) delays the inflammatory response post-MI, (2) decreases dilative remodeling during inflammatory and proliferative phases and (3) exaggerates dysfunction during the maturation phase.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.