Activation of MAPK pathways by angiotensin II (Ang II) is important for cardiac fibroblast (CFB) proliferation and migration. Activity of MAP-kinases is closely controlled by a group of dual-specific MAP kinase phosphatases (MKPs). Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and cytokines are elevated in patients with heart failure and may contribute to disease progression. In this study, we investigate the effect of LPS on Ang II-induced CFB function. Pretreatment of CFBs with LPS (1 microg/mL; 30 min) almost completely inhibited Ang II-induced DNA-synthesis and inhibited Ang II directed chemotaxis by more than 80%. Compared to controls, LPS pretreatment significantly reduced phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2- and p38 MAPK and induced MKP-1 levels. Silencing MKP-1 with antisense oligodesoxynucleotides reversed the antimitogenic effect of LPS on Ang II-induced CFB DNA-synthesis and migration. Induction of MKP-1 by LPS was inhibited by the protein kinase C (PKC)-inhibitor calphostin C, but not by the ERK1/2-pathway inhibitor PD98059, suggesting that PKC but not ERK1/2 is required for LPS-mediated MKP-1 induction in CFBs. Our data demonstrate that LPS have direct cellular effects in CFBs through an inhibition of Ang II-induced MAPK activity via PKC-mediated induction of MKP-1. This might be relevant with regard to the decreased MAPK activity and increased levels in MKPs reported during chronic heart failure in humans.