BACKGROUND:Inflammation is associated with cardiac remodeling and heart failure, but how it is initiated in response to nonischemic interventions in the absence of cell death is not known. We tested the hypothesis that activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II δ (CaMKIIδ) in cardiomyocytes (CMs) in response to pressure overload elicits inflammatory responses leading to adverse remodeling. METHODS:Mice in which CaMKIIδ was selectively deleted from CMs (cardiac-specific knockout [CKO]) and floxed control mice were subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC). The effects of CM-specific CaMKIIδ deletion on inflammatory gene expression, inflammasome activation, macrophage accumulation, and fibrosis were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, histochemistry, and ventricular remodeling by echocardiography. RESULTS:TAC induced increases in cardiac mRNA levels for proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines in ≤3 days, and these responses were significantly blunted when CM CaMKIIδ was deleted. Apoptotic and necrotic cell death were absent at this time. CMs isolated from TAC hearts mirrored these robust increases in gene expression, which were markedly attenuated in CKO. Priming and activation of the NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 inflammasome, assessed by measuring interleukin-1β and NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 mRNA levels, caspase-1 activity, and interleukin-18 cleavage, were increased at day 3 after TAC in control hearts and in CMs isolated from these hearts. These responses were dependent on CaMKIIδ and associated with activation of Nuclear Factor-kappa B and reactive oxygen species. Accumulation of macrophages observed at days 7 to 14 after TAC was diminished in CKO and, by blocking Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 signaling, deletion of CM Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 or inhibition of inflammasome activation. Fibrosis was also attenuated by these interventions and in the CKO heart. Ventricular dilation and contractile dysfunction observed at day 42 after TAC were diminished in the CKO. Inhibition of CaMKII, Nuclear Factor-kappa B, inflammasome, or Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 signaling in the first 1 or 2 weeks after TAC decreased remodeling, but inhibition of CaMKII after 2 weeks did not. CONCLUSIONS:Activation of CaMKIIδ in response to pressure overload triggers inflammatory gene expression and activation of the NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 inflammasome in CMs. These responses provide signals for macrophage recruitment, fibrosis, and myocardial dysfunction in the heart. Our work suggests the importance of targeting early inflammatory responses induced by CM CaMKIIδ signaling to prevent progression to heart failure.