CXCL4 Links Inflammation and Fibrosis by Reprogramming Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells in vitro

Sandra C. Silva-Cardoso, Weiyang Tao, Chiara Angiolilli, Ana P. Lopes, Cornelis P.J. Bekker, Abhinandan Devaprasad, Barbara Giovannone, Jaap van Laar, Marta Cossu, Wioleta Marut, Erik Hack, Rob J. de Boer, Marianne Boes, Timothy R.D.J. Radstake*, Aridaman Pandit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Fibrosis is a condition shared by numerous inflammatory diseases. Our incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying fibrosis has severely hampered effective drug development. CXCL4 is associated with the onset and extent of fibrosis development in multiple inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Here, we used monocyte-derived cells as a model system to study the effects of CXCL4 exposure on dendritic cell development by integrating 65 longitudinal and paired whole genome transcriptional and methylation profiles. Using data-driven gene regulatory network analyses, we demonstrate that CXCL4 dramatically alters the trajectory of monocyte differentiation, inducing a novel pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic phenotype mediated via key transcriptional regulators including CIITA. Importantly, these pro-inflammatory cells directly trigger a fibrotic cascade by producing extracellular matrix molecules and inducing myofibroblast differentiation. Inhibition of CIITA mimicked CXCL4 in inducing a pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic phenotype, validating the relevance of the gene regulatory network. Our study unveils that CXCL4 acts as a key secreted factor driving innate immune training and forming the long-sought link between inflammation and fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2149
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2020


  • CXCL4
  • dendritic cells
  • fibrosis
  • gene regulatory networks
  • inflammation


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