Ly-6Chigh Monocytes Depend on Nr4a1 to Balance both Inflammatory and Reparative Phases in the Infarcted Myocardium
Rationale: Healing after myocardial infarction (MI) involves the biphasic accumulation of inflammatory Ly-6Chigh and reparative Ly-6Clow monocytes/macrophages (Mo/MΦ). According to one model, Mo/MΦ heterogeneity in the heart originates in the blood and involves the sequential recruitment of distinct monocyte subsets that differentiate to distinct macrophages. Alternatively, heterogeneity may arise in tissue from one circulating subset via local macrophage differentiation and polarization. The orphan nuclear hormone receptor, Nr4a1, is essential to Ly-6Clow monocyte production but dispensable to Ly-6Clow macrophage differentiation; dependence on Nr4a1 can thus discriminate between systemic and local origins of macrophage heterogeneity.
Objective: This study tested the role of Nr4a1 in MI in the context of the two Mo/MΦ accumulation scenarios.
Methods and Results: We show that Ly-6Chigh monocytes infiltrate the infarcted myocardium and, unlike Ly-6Clow monocytes, differentiate to cardiac macrophages. In the early, inflammatory phase of acute myocardial ischemic injury, Ly-6Chigh monocytes accrue in response to a brief Ccl2 burst. In the second, reparative phase, accumulated Ly-6Chigh monocytes give rise to reparative Ly-6Clow F4/80high macrophages that proliferate locally. In the absence of Nr4a1, Ly-6Chigh monocytes express heightened levels of Ccr2 on their surface, avidly infiltrate the myocardium, and differentiate to abnormally inflammatory macrophages, which results in defective healing and compromised heart function.
Conclusions: Ly-6Chigh monocytes orchestrate both inflammatory and reparative phases during MI and depend on Nr4a1 to limit their influx and inflammatory cytokine expression.
- Received December 10, 2013.
- Revision received March 11, 2014.
- Accepted March 13, 2014.