Myosin-induced acute myocarditis is a T cell-mediated disease

S. C. Smith, P. M. Allen

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314 Scopus citations


The heart is a target organ in several autoimmune diseases, and therefore it is important to understand more about the effector cells involved in immune-mediated mechanisms of myocardial cell death. Because immune T lymphocytes are central to many immune responses, we wanted to study the role of T cells in causing cardiac specific inflammation. We used purified mouse cardiac myosin to cause acute myocarditis in mice. The adoptive transfer of purified T cells from C.B-17 mice with active myocarditis to SCID recipients successfully transferred the disease into SCID hosts. In contrast, transfer of serum with high-titer antimyosin antibodies to SCID hosts did not cause myocarditis. Using mAb to deplete A/J mice of CD4+ T cells, we showed that these mice were protected against the induction of myocarditis. Depletion of CD8+ T cells reduced the severity of inflammation but did not prevent induction of myocarditis. We were also able to prevent the induction of myocarditis using major histocompatibility class II protein-binding, nonimmunogenic, competitor peptides. These blocking studies also indicated that in H-2k mice, myocarditis is an I-Ak-restricted disease, and provided further evidence that CD4+ T cells are critical to the induction of disease. Together, these studies provide direct evidence that myosin-induced myocarditis is a T cell-mediated disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2141-2147
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1991


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