Monocytes/macrophages response plays a key role in post-infarction inflammation that contributes greatly to post-infarction ventricular remodeling and cardiac rupture. Therapeutic targeting of the GABAA receptor, which is enriched in monocytes/macrophages but not expressed in the myocardium, may be possible after myocardial infarction.

Methods and results:

After MI was induced by ligation of the coronary artery, C57BL/6 mice were intraperitoneally administered with one specific agonist or antagonist of the GABAA receptor (topiramate or bicuculline), in the setting of presence or depletion of monocytes/macrophages. Our data showed that within the first two weeks after MI, when monocytes/macrophages dominated, in contrast with bicuculline, topiramate treatment significantly reduced Ly-6Chigh monocyte numbers by regulating splenic monocytopoiesis and promoted fetal derived macrophages preservation and conversion of M1 to M2 or Ly-6Chigh to Ly-6Clow macrophage phenotype in the infarcted heart, though GABAergic drugs failed to affect M1/M2 or Ly-6Chigh/Ly-6Clow macrophage polarization directly. Accordingly, pro-inflammatory activities mediated by M1 or Ly-6Chigh macrophages were decreased and reparative processes mediated by M2 or Ly-6Clow macrophages were augmented. As a result, post-infarction ventricular remodeling was attenuated, as reflected by reduced infarct size and increased collagen density within infarcts. Echocardiographic indices, mortality and rupture rates were reduced. After depletion of monocytes/macrophages by clodronate liposomes, GABAergic drugs exhibited no effect on cardiac dysfunction and surrogate clinical outcomes.


Control of the GABAA receptor activity in monocytes/macrophages can potently modulate post-infarction inflammation. Topiramate emerges as a promising drug, which may be feasible to translate for myocardial infarction therapy in the future.

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