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Exp Mol Pathol. 2009 Dec;87(3):212-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2009.06.001. Epub 2009 Jun 13.

IL-17 induces myocardial fibrosis and enhances RANKL/OPG and MMP/TIMP signaling in isoproterenol-induced heart failure.

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Department of Cardiology, theFirst Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.



This study was designed to investigate whether IL-17 can regulate the expression of the MMP/TIMP system, the OPG/RANK/RANKL system, or type-I and type-III collagen fibers in a rat model of isoproterenol-induced heart failure (HF). We also investigated the effect of IL-17 on myocardial fibrosis in this model.


HF was induced in Wistar-Kyoto rats by hypodermic injection of isoproterenol (ISO) twice every 24 h. After 2 months, the surviving rats were divided into three groups: monoclonal Anti-IL-17 Ab (100 microg/day), IgG (100 microg/day) or PBS were injected five times every 48 h (i.p.). One day after the last injection, all of the rats were sacrificed. H&E and Masson staining were used to evaluate myocardial fibrosis, and immunohistochemistry was used to measure the levels of MMP-1, TIMP-1, TIMP-4, OPG, RANKL, type-I and type-III collagen fibers. We also treated adult rat cardiac fibroblasts with IL-17 (10 ng/ml), IL-17 (10 ng/ml)+OPG (10 ng/ml), IL-17 (10 ng/ml)+anti-RANKL Ab (100 ng/ml), or PBS for 24 h, realtime RT-PCR was used to measure the expressions of MMP-1.


The expressions of MMP-1, RANKL, and type-I and -III collagen fibers decreased, and the expressions of TIMP-1, TIMP-4, and OPG increased in the Anti-IL-17 group compared to controls. H&E and Masson staining revealed that blockade of IL-17 can improve myocardial fibrosis in HF. IL-17 increased the expression of MMP-1 in cardiac fibroblasts, and OPG and anti-IL-17 Ab could inhibit this function partly. Thus, IL-17 was dependent on the RANKL/OPG system to induce MMP-1 partly.


Our study demonstrates the contribution of IL-17 to myocardial fibrosis in isoproterenol-induced HF. IL-17 can regulate the RANKL/OPG and MMP/TIMP systems in this model. The RANKL/OPG system is one of intermediaries between IL-17 and MMP-1 in cardiac fibroblasts. As a harmful cytokine, anti-IL-17 treatment is a potential therapeutic strategy in HF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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