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Cardiac fibroblasts, regarded as the immunomodulatory hub of the heart, have been thought to play an important role during sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy (SIC). However, the detailed molecular mechanism and targeted therapies for SIC are still lacking. Therefore, we sought to investigate the likely protective effects of rolipram, an anti-inflammatory drug, on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated inflammatory responses in cardiac fibroblasts and on cardiac dysfunction in endotoxic mice. Cardiac fibroblasts were isolated and stimulated with 1 μg/ml LPS for 6 h, and 10 μmol/l rolipram was administered for 1 h before LPS stimulation. mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in fibroblasts and their protein concentrations in supernatant were measured with real-time PCR (rt-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. The expression of dual specificity phosphatase 1 (DUSP1), an endogenous negative regulator that inactivates MAPK-mediated inflammatory pathways, was also measured by rt-PCR and western blotting. DUSP1-targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA) was used to examine the specific role of DUSP1. To evaluate the role of rolipram in vivo, an endotoxic mouse model was established by intraperitoneal injection of 15 mg/kg LPS, and 10 mg/kg rolipram was intraperitoneally injected 1 h before LPS injection. mRNA and protein levels of inflammatory cytokines and DUSP1 in heart, inflammatory cell infiltration and cardiac function were all examined at 6 h after LPS injection. The results showed that LPS could increase the expression and secretion of inflammatory cytokines and decrease the transcription and expression of DUSP1 in cardiac fibroblasts. However, rolipram pretreatment significantly reversed the LPS-induced downregulation of DUSP1 and inhibited LPS-induced upregulation and secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 but not IL-1β. Moreover, DUSP1-targeted siRNA experiments indicated that the protective effect of rolipram on inflammatory response was specific dependent on DUSP1 expression. Moreover, rolipram could further reduce inflammatory cell infiltration scores as shown by pathological analysis and increase the ejection fraction (EF) detected with echocardiography in the hearts of endotoxic mice. Rolipram could improve endotoxin-induced cardiac dysfunction by upregulating DUSP1 expression to inhibit the inflammatory response in cardiac fibroblasts, which may be a potential treatment for SIC.


Jingjing Ji, Zhifeng Liu, Xinxin Hong, Zheying Liu, Jinghua Gao, Jinghua Liu. Protective effects of rolipram on endotoxic cardiac dysfunction via inhibition of the inflammatory response in cardiac fibroblasts. BMC cardiovascular disorders. 2020 May 24;20(1):242

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PMID: 32448150

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