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PLOS ONE  2012 

NaCl Potentiates Human Fibrocyte Differentiation

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045674

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Excessive NaCl intake is associated with a variety of fibrosing diseases such as renal and cardiac fibrosis. This association has been attributed to increased blood pressure as the result of high NaCl intake. However, studies in patients with high NaCl intake and fibrosis reveal a connection between NaCl intake and fibrosis that is independent of blood pressure. We find that increasing the extracellular concentration of NaCl to levels that may occur in human blood after high-salt intake can potentiate, in serum-free culture conditions, the differentiation of freshly-isolated human monocytes into fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes. NaCl affects the monocytes directly during their adhesion. Potassium chloride and sodium nitrate also potentiate fibrocyte differentiation. The plasma protein Serum Amyloid P (SAP) inhibits fibrocyte differentiation. High levels of extracellular NaCl change the SAP Hill coefficient from 1.7 to 0.8, and cause a four-fold increase in the concentration of SAP needed to inhibit fibrocyte differentiation by 95%. Together, our data suggest that NaCl potentiates fibrocyte differentiation. NaCl-increased fibrocyte differentiation may thus contribute to NaCl-increased renal and cardiac fibrosis.


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