Congenital heart disease linked to maternal autoimmunity against cardiac myosin

Charles R. Cole, Katherine E. Yutzey, Anoop K. Brar, Lisa S. Goessling, Sarah J. VanVickle-Chavez, Madeleine W. Cunningham, Pirooz Eghtesady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Structural congenital heart disease (CHD) has not previously been linked to autoimmunity. In our study, we developed an autoimmune model of structural CHD that resembles hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a life-threatening CHD primarily affecting the left ventricle. Because cardiac myosin (CM) is a dominant autoantigen in autoimmune heart disease, we hypothesized that immunization with CM might lead to transplacental passage of maternal autoantibodies and a prenatal HLHS phenotype in exposed fetuses. Elevated anti-CM autoantibodies in maternal and fetal sera, as well as IgG reactivity in fetal myocardium, were correlated with structural CHD that included diminished left ventricular cavity dimensions in the affected progeny. Further, fetuses that developed a marked HLHS phenotype had elevated serum titers of anti-b-adrenergic receptor Abs, as well as increased protein kinase A activity, suggesting a potential mechanism for the observed pathological changes. Our maternal-fetal model presents a new concept linking autoimmunity against CM and cardiomyocyte proliferation with cardinal features of HLHS. To our knowledge, this report shows the first evidence in support of a novel immune-mediated mechanism for pathogenesis of structural CHD that may have implications in its future diagnosis and treatment. The Journal of Immunology, 2014, 192: 4074-4082.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4074-4082
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2014


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