Expression and function of TLR4- induced B1R bradykinin receptor on cardiac fibroblasts

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Cardiac fibroblasts (CF) are key cells for maintaining extracellular matrix (ECM) protein homeostasis in the heart, and for cardiac repair through CF-to-cardiac myofibroblast (CMF) differentiation. Additionally, CF play an important role in the inflammatory process after cardiac injury, and they express Toll like receptor 4 (TLR4), B1 and B2 bradykinin receptors (B1R and B2R) which are important in the inflammatory response. B1R and B2R are induced by proinflammatory cytokines and their activation by bradykinin (BK: B2R agonist) or des-arg-kallidin (DAKD: B1R agonist), induces NO and PGI2 production which is key for reducing collagen I levels. However, whether TLR4 activation regulates bradykinin receptor expression remains unknown. CF were isolated from human, neonatal rat and adult mouse heart. B1R mRNA expression was evaluated by qRT-PCR, whereas B1R, collagen, COX-2 and iNOS protein levels were evaluated by Western Blot. NO and PGI2 were evaluated by commercial kits. We report here that in CF, TLR4 activation increased B1R mRNA and protein levels, as well as COX-2 and iNOS levels. B1R mRNA levels were also induced by interleukin-1α via its cognate receptor IL-1R1. In LPS-pretreated CF the DAKD treatment induced higher responses with respect to those observed in non LPS-pretreated CF, increasing PGI2 secretion and NO production; and reducing collagen I protein levels in CF. In conclusion, no significant response to DAKD was observed (due to very low expression of B1R in CF) – but pre-activation of TLR4 in CF, conditions that significantly enhanced B1R expression, led to an additional response of DAKD.HIGHLIGHTSIn cardiac fibroblast TLR4 activation increased B1R mRNA and protein levels, COX-2 and iNOS levels.In cardiac fibroblast B1R mRNA levels were induced by interleukin-1α via its cognate receptor IL-1R1.In TLR4-activated CF, DAKD induced a higher PGI2 secretion, NO production and reducition of collagen I levels.

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