Myeloid cells, including macrophages, play important roles as first responders to cardiac injury and stress. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been identified as a mediator of macrophage responsiveness to select diseases, though its impact on cardiac function or remodeling following acute ischemic injury is unknown. We aimed to define the role of myeloid cell-specific EGFR in the regulation of cardiac function and remodeling following acute myocardial infarction (MI)-induced injury. Floxed EGFR mice were bred with homozygous LysM-Cre (LMC) transgenic mice to yield myeloid-specific EGFR knockout (mKO) mice. Via echocardiography, immunohistochemistry, RNA sequencing and flow cytometry, the impact of myeloid cell-specific EGFR deletion on cardiac structure and function was assessed at baseline and following injury. Compared with LMC controls, myeloid cell-specific EGFR deletion led to an increase in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy at baseline. Bulk RNASeq analysis of isolated cardiac Cd11b+ myeloid cells revealed substantial changes in mKO cell transcripts at baseline, particularly in relation to predicted decreases in neovascularization. In response to myocardial infarction, mKO mice experienced a hastened decline in cardiac function with isolated cardiac Cd11b+ myeloid cells expressing decreased levels of the pro-reparative mediators Vegfa and Il10, which coincided with enhanced cardiac hypertrophy and decreased capillary density. Overall, loss of EGFR qualitatively alters cardiac resident macrophages that promotes a low level of basal stress and a more rapid decrease in cardiac function along with worsened repair following acute ischemic injury.

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