Gata6 + Pericardial Cavity Macrophages Relocate to the Injured Heart and Prevent Cardiac Fibrosis

Immunity. 2019 Jul 16;51(1):131-140.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2019.06.010.


Macrophages play an important role in structural cardiac remodeling and the transition to heart failure following myocardial infarction (MI). Previous research has focused on the impact of blood-derived monocytes on cardiac repair. Here we examined the contribution of resident cavity macrophages located in the pericardial space adjacent to the site of injury. We found that disruption of the pericardial cavity accelerated maladaptive post-MI cardiac remodeling. Gata6+ macrophages in mouse pericardial fluid contributed to the reparative immune response. Following experimental MI, these macrophages invaded the epicardium and lost Gata6 expression but continued to perform anti-fibrotic functions. Loss of this specialized macrophage population enhanced interstitial fibrosis after ischemic injury. Gata6+ macrophages were present in human pericardial fluid, supporting the notion that this reparative function is relevant in human disease. Our findings uncover an immune cardioprotective role for the pericardial tissue compartment and argue for the reevaluation of surgical procedures that remove the pericardium.

Keywords: Pericardial macrophage; fibrosis; myocardial infarction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibrosis / prevention & control*
  • GATA6 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardial Infarction / immunology*
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Pericardium / immunology*
  • Ventricular Remodeling


  • GATA6 Transcription Factor
  • Gata6 protein, mouse