Acute myocardial infarction activates distinct inflammation and proliferation pathways in circulating monocytes, prior to recruitment, and identified through conserved transcriptional responses in mice and humans

Eur Heart J. 2015 Aug 1;36(29):1923-34. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv195. Epub 2015 May 16.


Aims: Monocytes play critical roles in tissue injury and repair following acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Specifically targeting inflammatory monocytes in experimental models leads to reduced infarct size and improved healing. However, data from humans are sparse, and it remains unclear whether monocytes play an equally important role in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the monocyte response following AMI is conserved between humans and mice and interrogate patterns of gene expression to identify regulated functions.

Methods and results: Thirty patients (AMI) and 24 control patients (stable coronary atherosclerosis) were enrolled. Female C57BL/6J mice (n = 6/group) underwent AMI by surgical coronary ligation. Myocardial injury was quantified by magnetic resonance imaging (human) and echocardiography (mice). Peripheral monocytes were isolated at presentation and at 48 h. RNA from separated monocytes was hybridized to Illumina beadchips. Acute myocardial infarction resulted in a significant peripheral monocytosis in both species that positively correlated with the extent of myocardial injury. Analysis of the monocyte transcriptome following AMI demonstrated significant conservation and identified inflammation and mitosis as central processes to this response. These findings were validated in both species.

Conclusions: Our findings show that the monocyte transcriptome is conserved between mice and humans following AMI. Patterns of gene expression associated with inflammation and proliferation appear to be switched on prior to their infiltration of injured myocardium suggesting that the specific targeting of inflammatory and proliferative processes in these immune cells in humans are possible therapeutic strategies. Importantly, they could be effective in the hours after AMI.

Keywords: Acute myocardial infarction; Genomics; Inflammation; Mitosis; Monocytes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / pathology*
  • Ligation
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics
  • Myocardial Infarction / immunology
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / immunology
  • Transcriptional Activation / physiology