Angiotensin-II (Ang-II) is associated with many conditions involving heart failure and pathologic hypertrophy. Ang-II induces the synthesis of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 that mediates the uptake of CD34(+)CD45(+) monocytic cells into the heart. These precursor cells differentiate into collagen-producing fibroblasts and are responsible for the Ang-II-induced development of non-adaptive cardiac fibrosis. In this study, we demonstrate that in vitro, using a human monocyte-to-fibroblast differentiation model, Ang-II required the presence of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) to induce fibroblast maturation from monocytes. In vivo, mice deficient in both TNF receptors did not develop cardiac fibrosis in response to 1week Ang-II infusion. We then subjected mice deficient in either TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1-KO) or TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2-KO) to continuous Ang-II infusion. Compared to wild-type, in TNFR1-KO, but not in TNFR2-KO hearts, collagen deposition was greatly attenuated, and markedly fewer CD34(+)CD45(+) cells were present. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated a striking reduction of key fibrosis-related, as well as inflammation-related mRNA expression in Ang-II-treated TNFR1-KO hearts. TNFR1-KO animals also developed less cardiac remodeling, cardiac hypertrophy, and hypertension compared to wild-type and TNFR2-KO in response to Ang-II. Our data suggest that TNF induced Ang-II-dependent cardiac fibrosis by signaling through TNFR1, which enhances the generation of monocytic fibroblast precursors in the heart.
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