Basic Research in Cardiology

, 113:37 | Cite as

Activating transcription factor 3 in cardiovascular diseases: a potential therapeutic target

  • Heng Zhou
  • Ning Li
  • Yuan Yuan
  • Ya-Ge Jin
  • Haipeng Guo
  • Wei Deng
  • Qi-Zhu TangEmail author


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the primary causes of death worldwide. Among the numerous signaling molecules involved in CVDs, transcriptional factors directly influence gene expression and play a critical role in regulating cell function and the development of diseases. Activating transcription factor (ATF) 3 is an adaptive-response gene in the ATF/cAMP responsive element-binding (CREB) protein family of transcription factors that acts as either a repressor or an activator of transcription via the formation of homodimers or heterodimers with other ATF/CREB members. A appropriate ATF3 expression is important for the normal physiology of cells, and dysfunction of ATF3 is associated with various pathophysiological responses such as inflammation, apoptosis, oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress, and diseases, including CVDs. This review focuses on the role of ATF3 in cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, atherosclerosis, ischemic heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes mellitus to provide a novel therapeutic target for CVDs.


Activating transcription factor 3 Cardiac hypertrophy Heart failure Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular diseases 



Activin receptor-like kinase

Ang II

Angiotensin II


Activating transcription factor


Basic-region leucine zipper


cAMP responsive element


cAMP responsive element binding


Cardiovascular diseases


C-X-C motif chemokine ligand


C-X-C motif chemokine receptor


Diabetes mellitus




Endothelial cells


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Early growth response protein 1


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase




High-density lipoprotein


Heart failure


High-fat diet


Human umbilical vein endothelial cells


Intercellular cell adhesion molecule


Interferon γ


Ischemic heart diseases




Ischemic preconditioning




Interferon regulatory factor 7


c-Jun N-terminal kinase


Krueppel-like factor








Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 3


Methionine-enriched diet


MAPK/ERK kinase


Myocardial infarction


MAPK kinase 7


Matrix metalloproteinases


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


Nuclear factor-κB


Nitric oxide


Oxidized low-density lipoprotein


Proliferating cell nuclear antigen




Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase


Protein kinase A


Stress-activated protein kinase


Smooth muscle cells




Transforming growth factor-β


Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins


Toll-like receptor


Tumor necrosis factor-α


Type 2 DM


Vascular smooth muscle cells


Zucker Diabetic Fatty



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81300070, 81770399, 81470516 and 81530012), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (2042018kf0121), the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (2016ZX-008-01), and the National Major Scientific Instrument and Equipment Development Projects of China (2013YQ03092306).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CardiologyRenmin Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Cardiovascular Research InstituteWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Hubei Key Laboratory of CardiologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.The Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Remodeling and Function Research, Chinese Ministry of Education and Chinese Ministry of HealthQilu Hospital of Shandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China

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