International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Jan 2021)

Lithium Reduces Migration and Collagen Synthesis Activity in Human Cardiac Fibroblasts by Inhibiting Store-Operated Ca<sup>2+</sup> Entry

  • Pao-Huan Chen,
  • Cheng-Chih Chung,
  • Yuan-Feng Lin,
  • Yu-Hsun Kao,
  • Yi-Jen Chen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 2
p. 842


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Cardiac fibrosis plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. Fibroblast activity is enhanced by increases in store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) and calcium release-activated calcium channel protein 1 (Orai1) levels. Lithium regulates SOCE; however, whether therapeutic concentrations of lithium can be used to inhibit cardiac fibrogenesis is unknown. Migration and proliferation assays, Western blotting, real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis, and calcium fluorescence imaging were performed in human cardiac fibroblasts treated with or without LiCl at 1.0 mM (i.e., therapeutic peak level) or 0.1 mM (i.e., therapeutic trough level) for 24 h. Results showed that LiCl (0.1 mM, but not 1.0 mM) inhibited the migration and collagen synthesis ability of cardiac fibroblasts. Additionally, thapsigargin-induced SOCE was reduced in fibroblasts treated with LiCl (0.1 mM). The expression level of Orai1 was lower in LiCl (0.1 mM)-treated fibroblasts relative to the fibroblasts without LiCl treatment. Fibroblasts treated with a combination of LiCl (0.1 mM) and 2-APB (10 μM, an Orai1 inhibitor) demonstrated similar migration and collagen synthesis abilities as those in LiCl (0.1 mM)-treated fibroblasts. Altogether, lithium at therapeutic trough levels reduced the migration and collagen synthesis abilities of human cardiac fibroblasts by inhibiting SOCE and Orai1 expression.