Age-related changes in tissue macrophages precede cardiac functional impairment Academic Article uri icon


  • Cardiac tissue macrophages (cTMs) are abundant in the murine heart but the extent to which the cTM phenotype changes with age is unknown. This study characterizes aging-dependent phenotypic changes in cTM subsets. Using theCx3cr1(GFP/+) mouse reporter line where GFP marks cTMs, and the tissue macrophage marker Mrc1, we show that two major cardiac tissue macrophage subsets, Mrc1-GFP(hi) and Mrc1+GFP(hi) cTMs, are present in the young (<10 week old) mouse heart, and a third subset, Mrc1+GFP(lo), comprises ~50% of total Mrc1+ cTMs from 30 weeks of age. Immunostaining and functional assays show that Mrc1+ cTMs are the principal myeloid sentinels in the mouse heart and that they retain proliferative capacity throughout life. Gene expression profiles of the two Mrc1+ subsets also reveal that Mrc1+GFP(lo) cTMs have a decreased number of immune response genes (Cx3cr1, Lpar6, CD9, Cxcr4, Itga6 and Tgfβr1), and an increased number of fibrogenic genes (Ltc4s, Retnla, Fgfr1, Mmp9 and Ccl24), consistent with a potential role for cTMs in cardiac fibrosis. These findings identify early age-dependent gene expression changes in cTMs, with significant implications for cardiac tissue injury responses and aging-associated cardiac fibrosis.


  • Pinto, Ruvantha
  • Godwin, James W
  • Chandran, Anjana
  • Hersey, Lucy
  • Ilinykh, Alexei
  • Debuque, Ryan
  • Wang, Lina
  • Rosenthal, Nadia A

publication date

  • 2014

published in