Cardiac macrophages regulate isoproterenol-induced Takotsubo-like cardiomyopathy

JCI Insight. 2022 Feb 8;7(3):e156236. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.156236.


Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is an acute, stress-induced cardiomyopathy that occurs predominantly in women after extreme physical and/or emotional stress. To date, our understanding of the molecular basis for TTS remains unknown and, consequently, specific therapies are lacking. Myocardial infiltration of monocytes and macrophages in TTS has been documented in clinical studies. However, the functional importance of these findings remains poorly understood. Here, we show that a single high dose of isoproterenol (ISO) in mice induced a TTS-like cardiomyopathy phenotype characterized by female predominance, severe cardiac dysfunction, and robust myocardial infiltration of macrophages. Single-cell RNA-Seq studies of myocardial immune cells revealed that TTS-like cardiomyopathy is associated with complex activation of innate and adaptive immune cells in the heart, and macrophages were identified as the dominant immune cells. Global macrophage depletion (via clodronate liposome administration) or blockade of macrophage infiltration (via a CCR2 antagonist or in CCR2-KO mice) resulted in recovery of cardiac dysfunction in ISO-challenged mice. In addition, damping myeloid cell activation by HIF1α deficiency or exposure to the immunomodulatory agent bortezomib ameliorated ISO-induced cardiac dysfunction. Collectively, our findings identify macrophages as a critical regulator of TTS pathogenesis that can be targeted for therapeutic gain.

Keywords: Cardiology; Cardiovascular disease; Macrophages; Monocytes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / genetics*
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / biosynthesis
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / genetics*
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy / complications
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy / genetics*
  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy / pathology


  • Hif1a protein, mouse
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • RNA