Although the etiopathogenesis of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) is still unclear, it is widely accepted that a complex interplay between viral infections and immune mechanisms is the basis of disease genesis. Previously, we showed that heart-infiltrating T cells of patients suffering from acute, fulminant Coxsackie virus B3+-IDC shared a preferential usage of three variable gene segments of the T cell receptor beta chain-(TCR-Vbeta) encoding families Vbeta3, 7 and 13.1. This indicated the possible presence of a superantigen-driven immune response. Here, we further investigated the IDC immunological scenario by analysing different phenotypes of heart-infiltrating cells: TCR repertoires, cytokine expression and presence of enterovirus-specific antigens. IDC patients who underwent heart transplantation at different times after the onset of heart failure were studied. A cardiac infiltrate of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was present together with activated macrophages. Furthermore, the same Vbeta gene families, previously found to be skewed in hearts from fulminant cases of CVB3+-IDC, together with two additional Vbeta gene families, Vbeta1 and 5B, were increased. IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6 and IFN-gamma were expressed in the myocardium while others, like IL-4 were not. In conclusion, an orchestrated complex of immune mechanisms seems to be the basis of IDC etiopathogenesis.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Autoimmunity|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
- Immunology and Allergy