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AIM: To investigate the effect of Tenascin C (TNC) on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases in human cardiac myofibroblasts (CMF). METHODS: CMF were isolated and cultured from patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Cultured cells were treated with either TNC (0.1 μmol/L, 24 h) or a recombinant protein corresponding to different domains of the TNC protein; fibrinogen-like globe (FBG) and fibronectin type III-like repeats (TNIII 5-7) (both 1 μmol/L, 24 h). The expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines; interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, TNFα and the matrix metalloproteinases; MMPs (MMP1, 2, 3, 9, 10, MT1-MMP) was assessed using real time RT-PCR and western blot analysis. RESULTS: TNC increased both IL-6 and MMP3 (P < 0.01) mRNA levels in cultured human CMF but had no significant effect on the other markers studied. The increase in IL-6 mRNA expression was mirrored by an increase in protein secretion as assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (P < 0.01). Treating CMF with the recombinant protein FBG increased IL-6 mRNA and protein (P < 0.01) whereas the recombinant protein TNIII 5-7 had no effect. Neither FBG nor TNIII 5-7 had any significant effect on MMP3 expression. The expression of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in human CMF was confirmed by real time RT-PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry. Pre-incubation of cells with TLR4 neutralising antisera attenuated the effect of both TNC and FBG on IL-6 mRNA and protein expression. CONCLUSION: TNC up-regulates IL-6 expression in human CMF, an effect mediated through the FBG domain of TNC and via the TLR4 receptor.

Original publication




Journal article


World j cardiol

Publication Date





340 - 350


Cardiac fibroblasts, Interleukin-6, Matrix metalloproteinase, Tenascin C, Toll-like receptor