IL-18 induction of osteopontin mediates cardiac fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction in mice

Qianli Yu, Randy Vazquez, Elham Vali Khojeini, Chirag Patel, Raj Venkataramani, Douglas F. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Osteopontin (OPN), a key component of the extracellular matrix, is associated with the fibrotic process during tissue remodeling. OPN and the cytokine interleukin (IL)-18 have been shown to be overexpressed in an array of human cardiac pathologies. In the present study, we determined the role of IL-18 in the regulation of cardiac OPN expression and the subsequent interstitial fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction. We demonstrated parallel increases in IL-18, OPN expression, and interstitial fibrosis in murine models of left ventricular pressure and volume overload. Exogenous recombinant (r)IL-18 administered for 2 wk increased cardiac OPN expression, interstitial fibrosis, and diastolic dysfunction. Stimulation of the T helper (Th)1 lymphocyte phenotype with a selective toll-like receptor (TLR)9 agonist induced cardiac IL-18 and OPN expression, which was associated with increased cardiac fibrillar collagen concentrations and interstitial fibrosis resulting in diastolic dysfunction. rIL-18 induced OPN expression and protein levels in primary of cardiac fibroblast cultures. Conditioned media from TLR9-stimulated T lymphocyte cultures induced IL-18 and OPN expression in cardiac fibroblasts, while blockade of the IL-18 receptor with a neutralizing antibody abolished the increase in OPN expression. Furthermore, a mutation in the transcriptional factor interferon regulatory factor (IRF)1 or IRF1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in the decreased expression of IL-18 and OPN in cardiac fibroblasts. With pressure overload, IRF1-mutant mice showed downregulation of IL-18 and OPN expression in cardiac tissue, reduced cardiac fibrotic development, and increased left ventricular function compared with wild type. These results provide direct evidence that the induction of IL-18 regulates OPN-mediated cardiac fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H76-H85
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Interferon regulatory factor 1
  • Lysyl oxidase
  • Remodeling
  • T lymphocyte
  • Toll-like receptor-9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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