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Canonical roles for macrophages in mediating the fibrotic response after a heart attack include extracellular matrix turnover and activation of cardiac fibroblasts to initiate collagen deposition. Here we reveal that macrophages directly contribute collagen to the forming post-injury scar. Unbiased transcriptomics shows an upregulation of collagens in both zebrafish and mouse macrophages following heart injury. Adoptive transfer of macrophages, from either collagen-tagged zebrafish or adult mouse GFPtpz-collagen donors, enhances scar formation via cell autonomous production of collagen. In zebrafish, the majority of tagged collagen localises proximal to the injury, within the overlying epicardial region, suggesting a possible distinction between macrophage-deposited collagen and that predominantly laid-down by myofibroblasts. Macrophage-specific targeting of col4a3bpa and cognate col4a1 in zebrafish significantly reduces scarring in cryoinjured hosts. Our findings contrast with the current model of scarring, whereby collagen deposition is exclusively attributed to myofibroblasts, and implicate macrophages as direct contributors to fibrosis during heart repair.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41467-019-14263-2

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Commun

Publication Date

30/01/2020

Volume

11

Keywords

Adoptive Transfer, Animals, Cicatrix, Collagen, Embryo, Mammalian, Extracellular Matrix Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Heart, Macrophages, Mice, Monocytes, RNA, Messenger, Spleen, Transcription, Genetic, Transcriptome, Wound Healing, Zebrafish, Zebrafish Proteins