Fibrosis in Pathology of Heart and Kidney: From Deep RNA-Sequencing to Novel Molecular Targets

Circ Res. 2023 Apr 14;132(8):1013-1033. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.122.321761. Epub 2023 Apr 13.


Diseases of the heart and the kidney, including heart failure and chronic kidney disease, can dramatically impair life expectancy and the quality of life of patients. The heart and kidney form a functional axis; therefore, functional impairment of 1 organ will inevitably affect the function of the other. Fibrosis represents the common final pathway of diseases of both organs, regardless of the disease entity. Thus, inhibition of fibrosis represents a promising therapeutic approach to treat diseases of both organs and to resolve functional impairment. However, despite the growing knowledge in this field, the exact pathomechanisms that drive fibrosis remain elusive. RNA-sequencing approaches, particularly single-cell RNA-sequencing, have revolutionized the investigation of pathomechanisms at a molecular level and facilitated the discovery of disease-associated cell types and mechanisms. In this review, we give a brief overview over the evolution of RNA-sequencing techniques, summarize most recent insights into the pathogenesis of heart and kidney fibrosis, and discuss how transcriptomic data can be used, to identify new drug targets and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: RNA-seq; chronic renal insufficiency; fibrosis; heart failure; myofibroblasts.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • Quality of Life
  • RNA* / metabolism
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / metabolism


  • RNA