Angiotensin II (Ang II) plays a major role in the pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis in hypertension. It is known that Ang II induces TGF-β1 expression. How transcription mediates Ang II-induced TGF-β1 expression, as well as its contribution to cardiac fibrosis, is unknown. We studied the role of Krüppel-like family transcription factors in Ang II-induced myofibroblast formation. We found that among the Krüppel-like family members, Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) was the highest expressed form in isolated cardiac fibroblasts after Ang II treatment. Klf4 increased expression of α-SMA and collagen, as well as increased myofibroblast formation. ChIP assays showed that Klf4 specifically bound to the TGF-β1 promoter. Deletion and mutagenesis analysis showed that the sites at -184∼-180 bp and -45∼-41 bp in the TGF-β1 promoter were responsible for Klf4 transactivation of the TGF-β1 promoter. Our studies demonstrate that Klf4 plays a pivotal role in Ang II-induced cardiac myofibroblast differentiation and collagen synthesis through transcriptional upregulation of TGF-β1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas