An IL-6/STAT3/MR/FGF21 axis mediates heart-liver cross-talk after myocardial infarction

Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 5;9(14):eade4110. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade4110. Epub 2023 Apr 5.


The liver plays a protective role in myocardial infarction (MI). However, very little is known about the mechanisms. Here, we identify mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) as a pivotal nexus that conveys communications between the liver and the heart during MI. Hepatocyte MR deficiency and MR antagonist spironolactone both improve cardiac repair after MI through regulation on hepatic fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), illustrating an MR/FGF21 axis that underlies the liver-to-heart protection against MI. In addition, an upstreaming acute interleukin-6 (IL-6)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway transmits the heart-to-liver signal to suppress MR expression after MI. Hepatocyte Il6 receptor deficiency and Stat3 deficiency both aggravate cardiac injury through their regulation on the MR/FGF21 axis. Therefore, we have unveiled an IL-6/STAT3/MR/FGF21 signaling axis that mediates heart-liver cross-talk during MI. Targeting the signaling axis and the cross-talk could provide new strategies to treat MI and heart failure.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6* / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Myocardial Infarction* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism


  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Interleukin-6
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • STAT3 protein, human