Ectonucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase-1 (CD39) impacts TGF-β1 responses: insights into cardiac fibrosis and function following myocardial infarction

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Dec 1;323(6):H1244-H1261. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00138.2022. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


Extracellular purine nucleotides and nucleosides released from activated or injured cells influence multiple aspects of cardiac physiology and pathophysiology. Ectonucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase-1 (ENTPD1; CD39) hydrolyzes released nucleotides and thereby regulates the magnitude and duration of purinergic signaling. However, the impact of CD39 activity on post-myocardial infarction (MI) remodeling is incompletely understood. We measured the levels and activity of ectonucleotidases in human left ventricular samples from control and ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) hearts and examined the impact of ablation of Cd39 expression on post-myocardial infarction remodeling in mice. We found that human CD39 levels and activity are significantly decreased in ICM hearts (n = 5) compared with control hearts (n = 5). In mice null for Cd39, cardiac function and remodeling are significantly compromised in Cd39-/- mice following myocardial infarction. Fibrotic markers including plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression, fibrin deposition, α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), and collagen expression are increased in Cd39-/- hearts. Importantly, we found that transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) stimulates ATP release and induces Cd39 expression and activity on cardiac fibroblasts, constituting an autocrine regulatory pathway not previously appreciated. Absence of CD39 activity on cardiac fibroblasts exacerbates TGF-β1 profibrotic responses. Treatment with exogenous ectonucleotidase rescues this profibrotic response in Cd39-/- fibroblasts. Together, these data demonstrate that CD39 has important interactions with TGF-β1-stimulated autocrine purinergic signaling in cardiac fibroblasts and dictates outcomes of cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction. Our results reveal that ENTPD1 (CD39) regulates TGF-β1-mediated fibroblast activation and limits adverse cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show that CD39 is a critical modulator of TGF-β1-mediated fibroblast activation and cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction via modulation of nucleotide signaling. TGF-β1-induced CD39 expression generates a negative feedback loop that attenuates cardiac fibroblast activation. In the absence of CD39 activity, collagen deposition is increased, elastin expression is decreased, and diastolic dysfunction is worsened. Treatment with ecto-apyrase attenuates the TGF-β1-induced profibrotic cardiac fibroblast phenotype, revealing a novel approach to combat post-myocardial infarction cardiac fibrosis.

Keywords: CD39; cardiac dysfunction; diastolic dysfunction; fibrosis; myocardial infarction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Infarction*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1* / metabolism
  • Ventricular Remodeling


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • CD39 antigen
  • triphosphoric acid
  • Collagen