Regulation of the Inflammatory Response in Cardiac Repair

Circ Res. 2012 Jan 6;110(1):159-73. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.243162.


Myocardial necrosis triggers an inflammatory reaction that clears the wound from dead cells and matrix debris, while activating reparative pathways necessary for scar formation. A growing body of evidence suggests that accentuation, prolongation, or expansion of the postinfarction inflammatory response results in worse remodeling and dysfunction following myocardial infarction. This review manuscript discusses the cellular effectors and endogenous molecular signals implicated in suppression and containment of the inflammatory response in the infarcted heart. Clearance of apoptotic neutrophils, recruitment of inhibitory monocyte subsets and regulatory T cells, macrophage differentiation and pericyte/endothelial interactions may play an active role in restraining postinfarction inflammation. Multiple molecular signals may be involved in suppressing the inflammatory cascade. Negative regulation of toll-like receptor signaling, downmodulation of cytokine responses, and termination of chemokine signals may be mediated through the concerted action of multiple suppressive pathways that prevent extension of injury and protect from adverse remodeling. Expression of soluble endogenous antagonists, decoy receptors, and posttranslational processing of bioactive molecules may limit cytokine and chemokine actions. Interleukin-10, members of the transforming growth factor-β family, and proresolving lipid mediators (such as lipoxins, resolvins, and protectins) may suppress proinflammatory signaling. In human patients with myocardial infarction, defective suppression, and impaired resolution of inflammation may be important mechanisms in the pathogenesis of remodeling and in progression to heart failure. Understanding of inhibitory and proresolving signals in the infarcted heart and identification of patients with uncontrolled postinfarction inflammation and defective cardiac repair is needed to design novel therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology