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J Cell Mol Med. 2018 Mar;22(3):1816-1825. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13464. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

H3 relaxin inhibits the collagen synthesis via ROS- and P2X7R-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation in cardiac fibroblasts under high glucose.

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The Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.
The Department of Cardiology, The Fifth hospital of Harbin, Harbin, China.


Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and P2X7R activation induced by high glucose increases NLRP3 inflammasome activation, which contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Although H3 relaxin has been shown to inhibit cardiac fibrosis induced by isoproterenol, the mechanism has not been well studied. Here, we demonstrated that high glucose (HG) induced the collagen synthesis by activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, leading to caspase-1 activation, interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18 secretion in neonatal rat cardiac fibroblasts. Moreover, we used a high-glucose model with neonatal rat cardiac fibroblasts and showed that the activation of ROS and P2X7R was augmented and that ROS- and P2X7R-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation was critical for the collagen synthesis. Inhibition of ROS and P2X7R decreased NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated collagen synthesis, similar to the effects of H3 relaxin. Furthermore, H3 relaxin reduced the collagen synthesis via ROS- and P2X7R-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation in response to HG. These results provide a mechanism by which H3 relaxin alleviates NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated collagen synthesis through the inhibition of ROS and P2X7R under HG conditions and suggest that H3 relaxin represents a potential drug for alleviating cardiac fibrosis in diabetic cardiomyopathy.


NLRP3 inflammasome; P2X7R; ROS; cardiac fibrosis; high glucose

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