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JCI Insight. 2019 Aug 8;4(15):e128722. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.128722.

Cell-specific ablation of Hsp47 defines the collagen-producing cells in the injured heart

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Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Department of Pathology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA.
Institute for Protein Dynamics, Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Collagen production in the adult heart is thought to be regulated by the fibroblast, although cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells also express multiple collagen mRNAs. Molecular chaperones are required for procollagen biosynthesis, including heat shock protein 47 (Hsp47). To determine the cell types critically involved in cardiac injury–induced fibrosis theHsp47 gene was deleted in cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, or myofibroblasts. Deletion ofHsp47 from cardiomyocytes during embryonic development or adult stages, or deletion from adult endothelial cells, did not affect cardiac fibrosis after pressure overload injury. However, myofibroblast-specific ablation of Hsp47; blocked fibrosis and deposition of collagens type I, III, and V following pressure overload as well as significantly reduced cardiac hypertrophy. Fibroblast-specific Hsp47-deleted mice showed lethality after myocardial infarction injury, with ineffective scar formation and ventricular wall rupture. Similarly, only myofibroblast-specific deletion of Hsp47reduced fibrosis and disease in skeletal muscle in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy. Mechanistically, deletion of Hsp47 from myofibroblasts reduced mRNA expression of fibrillar collagens and attenuated their proliferation in the heart without affecting paracrine secretory activity of these cells. The results show that myofibroblasts are the primary mediators of tissue fibrosis and scar formation in the injured adult heart, which unexpectedly affects cardiomyocyte hypertrophy.


Cardiovascular disease; Collagens; Fibrosis

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