Fibrocytes are associated with the fibrosis of coronary heart disease

Pu-Ping Lei, Yong-Qiang Qu, Qun Shuai, Si-Ming Tao, Yu-Xia Bao, Yu Wang, Shang-Wen Wang, Dian-Hua Wang
Pathology, Research and Practice 2013 January 15, 209 (1): 36-43
Fibrocytes contribute significantly to fibrosis in many cardiac diseases. However, it is not clear whether fibrocytes are associated with the fibrosis in coronary heart disease (CHD). The aim of this study was to determine whether fibrocytes are involved in cardiac fibrosis in CHD. We identified the presence of fibrocytes in CHD heart by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, examined the collagen volume fraction by Masson's Trichrome staining, and evaluated the correlation between fibrocytes and cardiac fibrosis. In conjunction, we examined the location of CXCL12, a homing factor and specific ligand for CXCR4, by immunohistochemistry. Fibrocytes were identified in 26 out of 27 CHD hearts and in 10 out of 11 normal hearts. Combinations, including CD34/αSMA, CD34/procollagen-I, CD45/αSMA, CXCR4/procollagen-I and CXCR4/αSMA, stained significantly more fibrocytes in CHD hearts as compared with those in normal hearts (p<0.05). There were positive correlations between the collagen volume fraction and the amount of fibrocytes (r=0.558; p=0.003<0.01) and between the number of CXCR4(+) fibrocytes and the CXCL12(+) cells (r=0.741; p=0.000<0.01) in CHD hearts. Based upon these findings, we conclude that fibrocytes, likely recruited through the CXCR4/CXCL12 axis, may contribute to the increase in the fibroblast population in CHD heart.

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