Regulation of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic factors by CCN2/CTGF in H9c2 cardiomyocytes

Xiaoyu Wang, Susan V. Mclennan, Terri J. Allen, Stephen M. Twigg

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Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), also known as CCN2, is implicated in fibrosis through both extracellular matrix (ECM) induction and inhibition of ECM degradation. The role of CTGF in inflammation in cardiomyocytes is unknown. In some mesenchymal cell systems, CTGF mediates effects through TGF-β or tyrosine kinase cell surface receptor, TrkA, signalling. In this study, cellular mechanisms by which CTGF regulates pathways involved in fibrosis and inflammation were explored. Murine H9c2 cardiomyocytes were treated with recombinant human (rh)CTGF and ECM formation gene expression: fibronectin, collagen type -I and -III and ECM degradation genes: TIMP-1, TIMP-2 and PAI-1 were found to be induced. CTGF treatment also increased pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1 and IL-8. CTGF upregulated TGF-β1 mRNA and rapidly induced phosphorylation of TrkA. The CTGF-induced pro-fibrotic and pro-inflammatory effects were blocked by anti-TGF-β neutralizing antibody and Alk 5 inhibitor (SB431542). A specific blocker of TrkA activation, k252a, also abrogated CTGF-induced effects on fibrosis and gene expresison of MCP-1 and IL-8, but not TNF-α or IL-6. Collectively, this data implicates CTGF in effects on pro-fibrotic genes and pro-inflammatory genes via TGF-β pathway signalling and partly through TrkA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiomyocytes
  • CTGF
  • Fibrosis
  • Inflammation
  • TGF-β
  • TrkA

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