6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), antibodies targeting PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1)/PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1) or CTLA4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4), have revolutionized cancer management but are associated with devastating immune-related adverse events including myocarditis. The main risk factor for ICI myocarditis is the use of combination PD-1 and CTLA4 inhibition. ICI myocarditis is often fulminant and is pathologically characterized by myocardial infiltration of T lymphocytes and macrophages. Although much has been learned about the role of T-cells in ICI myocarditis, little is understood about the identity, transcriptional diversity, and functions of infiltrating macrophages. METHODS: We used an established murine ICI myocarditis model (Ctla4+/–Pdcd1–/– mice) to explore the cardiac immune landscape using single-cell RNA-sequencing, immunostaining, flow cytometry, in situ RNA hybridization, molecular imaging, and antibody neutralization studies. RESULTS: We observed marked increases in CCR2 (C-C chemokine receptor type 2)+ monocyte-derived macrophages and CD8+ T-cells in this model. The macrophage compartment was heterogeneous and displayed marked enrichment in an inflammatory CCR2+ subpopulation highly expressing Cxcl9 (chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 9), Cxcl10 (chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 10), Gbp2b (interferon-induced guanylate-binding protein 2b), and Fcgr4 (Fc receptor, IgG, low affinity IV) that originated from CCR2+ monocytes. It is important that a similar macrophage population expressing CXCL9, CXCL10, and CD16α (human homologue of mouse FcgR4) was expanded in patients with ICI myocarditis. In silico prediction of cell-cell communication suggested interactions between T-cells and Cxcl9+Cxcl10+ macrophages via IFN-γ (interferon gamma) and CXCR3 (CXC chemokine receptor 3) signaling pathways. Depleting CD8+ T-cells or macrophages and blockade of IFN-γ signaling blunted the expansion of Cxcl9+Cxcl10+ macrophages in the heart and attenuated myocarditis, suggesting that this interaction was necessary for disease pathogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that ICI myocarditis is associated with the expansion of a specific population of IFN-γ–induced inflammatory macrophages and suggest the possibility that IFN-γ blockade may be considered as a treatment option for this devastating condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-66
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2024


  • CXCL9 chemokine
  • IFN-gamma
  • T-cells
  • cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4-immunoglobulin
  • macrophages
  • myocarditis
  • programmed cell death protein 1


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