Aldosterone stimulates proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts by activating Ki-RasA and MAPK1/2 signaling

James D. Stockand, J. Gary Meszaros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Aldosterone plays a pathological role in cardiac fibrosis by directly affecting cardiac fibroblasts. Understanding of the cellular mechanisms of aldosterone action in cardiac fibroblasts, however, is rudimentary. One possibility is that aldosterone promotes proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts by activating specific cellular signaling cascades. The current study tests whether aldosterone stimulates proliferation of isolated adult rat cardiac myofibroblasts (RCF) by activating Kirsten Ras (Ki-RasA) and its effector, the MAPK1/2 cascade. Aldosterone (10 nM) significantly increased RCF proliferation. This action was sensitive to the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist spironolactone. Expression of MR in RCF and the whole rat heart was confirmed by immunoblotting. Aldosterone significantly increased absolute and active (GTP bound) Ki-RasA levels in RCF. Aldosterone, in addition, significantly increased phospho-c-Raf and phospho-MAPK1/2. The effects of aldosterone on Ki-RasA and phospho-c-Raf proteins were inhibited by spironolactone but not RU-486, suggesting that aldosterone acts via MR. Inhibitors of MEK1/2 and c-Raf prevented aldosterone-induced activation of MAPK1/2 and proliferation. These results show that aldosterone directly increases RCF proliferation through MR-dependent activation of Ki-RasA and its effector, the MAPK1/2 cascade. Activation of cardiac fibroblasts through such a cascade may play a role in the pathological actions exerted by aldosterone on the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H176-H184
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1 53-1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Fibrosis
  • Kirsten Ras
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • Myofibroblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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