HMGB1 and repair: focus on the heart

Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Apr;196:160-182. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.12.005. Epub 2018 Dec 6.


High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is one of the most abundant proteins in eukaryotes and the best characterized damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP). The biological activities of HMGB1 depend on its subcellular location, context and post-translational modifications. Inside the nucleus, HMGB1 is engaged in many DNA events such as DNA repair, transcription regulation and genome stability; in the cytoplasm, its main function is to regulate the autophagic flux while in the extracellular environment, it possesses more complicated functions and it is involved in a large variety of different processes such as inflammation, migration, invasion, proliferation, differentiation and tissue regeneration. Due to this pleiotropy, the role of HMGB1 has been vastly investigated in various pathological diseases and a large number of studies have explored its function in cardiovascular pathologies. However, in this contest, the precise mechanism of action of HMGB1 and its therapeutic potential are still very controversial since is debated whether HMGB1 is involved in tissue damage or plays a role in tissue repair and regeneration. The main focus of this review is to provide an overview of the effects of HMGB1 in different ischemic heart diseases and to discuss its functions in these pathological conditions.

Keywords: DAMPs; HMGB1; HMGB1 and heart repair; PAMPs; alarmins; molecular and cellular rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HMGB1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism*
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology


  • HMGB1 Protein