Adenosine kinase promotes post-infarction cardiac repair by epigenetically maintaining reparative macrophage phenotype

Min Zhang, Caiping Wang, Rongning Wang, Jiean Xu, Zhefeng Wang, Jianlong Yan, Yongfeng Cai, Liangping Li, Yuqing Huo, Shaohong Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pro-inflammatory and reparative macrophages are crucial in clearing necrotic myocardium and promoting cardiac repair after myocardial infarction (MI), respectively. Extracellular adenosine has been demonstrated to modulate macrophage polarization through adenosine receptors. However, the role of intracellular adenosine in macrophage polarization has not been explored and adenosine kinase (ADK) is a major enzyme regulating intracellular adenosine levels. Here, we aimed to elucidate the role of ADK in macrophage polarization and its subsequent impact on MI. We demonstrated that ADK was upregulated in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) after IL-4 treatment and was highly expressed in the infarct area at day 7 post-MI, especially in macrophages. Compared with wild-type mice, myeloid-specific Adk knockout mice showed increased infarct size, limited myofibroblast differentiation, reduced collagen deposition and more severe cardiac dysfunction after MI, which was related to impaired reparative macrophage phenotype in MI tissue. We found that ADK deletion or inhibition significantly decreased the expression of reparative genes, such as Arg1, Ym1, Fizz1, and Cd206 in BMDMs after IL-4 treatment. The increased intracellular adenosine due to Adk deletion inhibited transmethylation reactions and decreased the trimethylation of H3K4 in BMDMs after IL-4 treatment. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that Adk deletion suppressed reparative macrophage phenotype through decreased IRF4 expression, which resulted from reduced levels of H3K4me3 on the Irf4 promotor. Together, our study reveals that ADK exerts a protective effect against MI by promoting reparative macrophage polarization through epigenetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of molecular and cellular cardiology
Early online dateDec 3 2022
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Adenosine kinase
  • Cardiac repair
  • Histone methylation
  • Macrophage polarization
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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