Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) is one of the major causes of death in humans and has been linked to Coxsackievirus B (CVB) infection. The aim of this study was to analyze phenotypes of heart-infiltrating immune cells in patients suffering from myocarditis and IDC associated with CVB infections. We found that the myocardium of these patients was infiltrated by CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes as well as macrophages. Evidence of CVB3/4 infections was also found. In the majority of patients, the T-cell receptor repertoire (TCR) of the infiltrating lymphocytes was restricted, with a polyclonal expansion of the Vbeta7 gene family. We also found that human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles associated with susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (HLA-DR4 and HLA-DQA1*04/05/06 alleles) were remarkably infrequent in IDC patients (p < 0.005), thus suggesting that they might confer protection against IDC. Finally, mRNA for interleukin-1beta, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha was detected in the cardiac specimens, although at a lower level compared with specimens from hearts without signs of viral infections. We conclude that CVB infection of the human myocardium is associated with a selective, yet polyclonal activation of different T-cell subsets in genetically susceptible individuals. This immune response may play a critical role in modulating disease progression after viral infections.
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy