IL-6 in the infarcted heart is preferentially formed by fibroblasts and modulated by purinergic signaling

J Clin Invest. 2023 Jun 1;133(11):e163799. doi: 10.1172/JCI163799.


Plasma IL-6 is elevated after myocardial infarction (MI) and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Which cardiac cell type preferentially contributes to IL-6 expression and how its production is regulated are largely unknown. Here, we studied the cellular source and purinergic regulation of IL-6 formation in a murine MI model. We found that IL-6, measured in various cell types in post-MI hearts at the protein level and by quantitative PCR and RNAscope, was preferentially formed by cardiac fibroblasts (CFs). Single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) in infarcted mouse and human hearts confirmed this finding. We found that adenosine stimulated fibroblast IL-6 formation via the adenosine receptor A2bR in a Gq-dependent manner. CFs highly expressed Adora2b and rapidly degraded extracellular ATP to AMP but lacked CD73. In mice and humans, scRNA-Seq revealed that Adora2B was also mainly expressed by fibroblasts. We assessed global IL-6 production in isolated hearts from mice lacking CD73 on T cells (CD4-CD73-/-), a condition known to be associated with adverse cardiac remodeling. The ischemia-induced release of IL-6 was strongly attenuated in CD4-CD73-/- mice, suggesting adenosine-mediated modulation. Together, these findings demonstrate that post-MI IL-6 was mainly derived from activated CFs and was controlled by T cell-derived adenosine. We show that purinergic metabolic cooperation between CFs and T cells is a mechanism that modulates IL-6 formation by the heart and has therapeutic potential.

Keywords: Cardiology; Cytokines; Inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Fibroblasts* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6* / genetics
  • Interleukin-6* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myocardial Infarction* / genetics
  • Myocardial Infarction* / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes* / metabolism


  • Adenosine
  • Interleukin-6