Opposing roles of Akt and STAT3 in the protection of the maternal heart from peripartum stress

Photo courtesy of <a href='http://tinyurl.com/k3pdb7r
'>Nicolas Raymond</a>
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Raymond

Postpartum Akt activation is detrimental for the peripartum heart as it lowers anti-oxidative defence and in combination with low STAT3 conditions, accelerate cardiac inflammation and fibrosis. PRL and its cleaved 16 kDa form are central for Akt-induced PPCM, as indicated by the protection from the disease by PRL blockade.

Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a pregnancy-associated cardiomyopathy in previously healthy women. Mice with a cardiomyocyte-restricted deletion of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3, CKO) develop PPCM. PI3K-Akt signalling is thought to promote cardiac hypertrophy and protection during pregnancy. We evaluated the role of activated Akt signalling in the maternal heart postpartum.

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