Fibrosis of the diabetic heart: Clinical significance, molecular mechanisms, and therapeutic opportunities

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25 Scopus citations


In patients with diabetes, myocardial fibrosis may contribute to the pathogenesis of heart failure and arrhythmogenesis, increasing ventricular stiffness and delaying conduction. Diabetic myocardial fibrosis involves effects of hyperglycemia, lipotoxicity and insulin resistance on cardiac fibroblasts, directly resulting in increased matrix secretion, and activation of paracrine signaling in cardiomyocytes, immune and vascular cells, that release fibroblast-activating mediators. Neurohumoral pathways, cytokines, growth factors, oxidative stress, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and matricellular proteins have been implicated in diabetic fibrosis; however, the molecular links between the metabolic perturbations and activation of a fibrogenic program remain poorly understood. Although existing therapies using glucose- and lipid-lowering agents and neurohumoral inhibition may act in part by attenuating myocardial collagen deposition, specific therapies targeting the fibrotic response are lacking. This review manuscript discusses the clinical significance, molecular mechanisms and cell biology of diabetic cardiac fibrosis and proposes therapeutic targets that may attenuate the fibrotic response, preventing heart failure progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113904
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Diabetes
  • Fibroblast
  • Fibrosis
  • Glucose-lowering agents
  • Heart failure
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Inflammation
  • Lipotoxicity
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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