BackgroundCardiac fibroblasts play important functional and pathophysiological roles. Intracellular (“intracrine”) angiotensin‐II (Ang‐II) signaling regulates intercellular communication, excitability, and gene expression in cardiomyocytes; however, the existence and role of intracrine Ang‐II signaling in cardiac fibroblasts is unstudied. Here, we evaluated the localization of Ang‐II receptors on atrial fibroblast nuclei and associated intracrine effects of potential functional significance.Methods and ResultsImmunoblots of subcellular protein‐fractions from isolated canine atrial fibroblasts indicated the presence of nuclear Ang‐II type 1 receptors (AT1Rs) and Ang‐II type 2 receptors (AT2Rs). Fluorescein isothiocyanate–Ang‐II binding displaceable by AT1R‐ and AT2R‐blockers was present on isolated fibroblast nuclei. G‐protein subunits, including Gαq/11, Gαi/3, and Gβ, were observed in purified fibroblast nuclear fractions by immunoblotting and intact‐fibroblast nuclei by confocal immunocytofluorescence microscopy. Nuclear AT1Rs and AT2Rs regulated de novo RNA synthesis ([α32P]UTP incorporation) via IP3R‐ and NO‐dependent pathways, respectively. In intact cultured fibroblasts, intracellular Ang‐II release by photolysis of a membrane‐permeable caged Ang‐II analog led to IP3R‐dependent nucleoplasmic Ca2+‐liberation, with IP3R3 being the predominant nuclear isoform. Intracellular Ang‐II regulated fibroblast proliferation ([3H]thymidine incorporation), collagen‐1A1 mRNA‐expression, and collagen secretion. Intracellular Ang‐II and nuclear AT1R protein levels were significantly increased in a heart failure model in which atrial fibrosis underlies atrial fibrillation.ConclusionsFibroblast nuclei possess AT1R and AT2R binding sites that are coupled to intranuclear Ca2+‐mobilization and NO liberation, respectively. Intracellular Ang‐II signaling regulates fibroblast proliferation, collagen gene expression, and collagen secretion. Heart failure upregulates Ang‐II intracrine signaling‐components in atrial fibroblasts. These results show for the first time that nuclear angiotensin‐II receptor activation and intracrine Ang‐II signaling control fibroblast function and may have pathophysiological significance.