Immune-inflammatory dysregulation modulates the incidence of progressive fibrosis and diastolic stiffness in the aging heart

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2011 Jan;50(1):248-56. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2010.10.019. Epub 2010 Oct 23.


Diastolic dysfunction in the aging heart is a grave condition that challenges the life and lifestyle of a growing segment of our population. This report seeks to examine the role and interrelationship of inflammatory dysregulation in interstitial myocardial fibrosis and progressive diastolic dysfunction in aging mice. We studied a population of C57BL/6 mice that developed progressive diastolic dysfunction over 30 months of life. This progressive dysfunction was associated with increasing infiltration of CD45(+) fibroblasts of myeloid origin. In addition, increased rates of collagen expression as measured by cellular procollagen were apparent in the heart as a function of age. These cellular and functional changes were associated with progressive increases in mRNA for MCP-1 and IL-13, which correlated both temporally and quantitatively with changes in fibrosis and cellular procollagen levels. MCP-1 protein was also increased and found to be primarily in the venular endothelium. Protein assays also demonstrated elevation of IL-4 and IL-13 suggesting a shift to a Th2 phenotype in the aging heart. In vitro studies demonstrated that IL-13 markedly enhanced monocyte-fibroblast transformation. Our results indicate that immunoinflammatory dysregulation in the aging heart induces progressive MCP-1 production and an increased shift to a Th2 phenotype paralleled by an associated increase in myocardial interstitial fibrosis, cellular collagen synthesis, and increased numbers of CD45(+) myeloid-derived fibroblasts that contain procollagen. The temporal association and functional correlations suggest a causative relationship between age-dependent immunoinflammatory dysfunction, fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Chemokine CCL2 / genetics
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Diastole / genetics
  • Diastole / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibrosis / genetics
  • Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Array Analysis


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Interleukin-13
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens