Proinflammatory protein CARD9 is essential for infiltration of monocytic fibroblast precursors and cardiac fibrosis caused by Angiotensin II infusion

Am J Hypertens. 2011 Jun;24(6):701-7. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2011.42. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Background: Angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced cardiac remodeling with the underlying mechanisms involving inflammation and fibrosis has been well documented. Cytosolic adaptor caspase recruitment domain 9 (CARD9) has been implicated in the innate immune response. We aimed to examine the role of CARD9 in inflammation and cardiac fibrosis induced by Ang II.

Methods: Two-month-old CARD9-deficient (CARD9(-/-)) and wild-type (WT) male mice were infused with Ang II (1,500 ng/kg/min) or saline for 7 days. Heart sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and Masson trichrome and examined by immunohistochemistry; and activity and protein levels were measured in macrophages obtained from mice.

Results: WT mice with Ang II infusion showed a marked increase in CARD9(+) macrophages in the heart, but CARD9(-/-) mice showed significantly suppressed macrophage infiltration and expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). Importantly, Ang II-induced cardiac fibrosis (extracellular matrix and collagen I deposition) was diminished in CARD9(-/-) hearts, as was the expression of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and level of myofibroblasts positive for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Furthermore, Ang II activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in WT macrophages was reduced in CARD9(-/-) macrophages.

Conclusion: CARD9 plays an important role in regulating cardiac inflammation and fibrosis in response to elevated Ang II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins / deficiency
  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins / physiology*
  • Fibrosis
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Myofibroblasts / physiology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis


  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • NF-kappa B
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Angiotensin II