Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Autoimmunity. 2004 Mar;37(2):131-45.

Mast cells and innate cytokines are associated with susceptibility to autoimmune heart disease following coxsackievirus B3 infection.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The development of autoimmune disease involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many autoimmune diseases are believed to be triggered by viral infections. Since the early, natural immune response to infection can determine the later development of the adaptive immune response, innate immunity likely influences the progression from viral immunity to autoimmunity. To investigate the role of the innate immune response on susceptibility to autoimmune disease, we compared the early cytokine response of mice susceptible or resistant to the development of autoimmune heart disease following viral infection. We found that susceptible BALB/c mice produced elevated levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-4 within hours of Coxsackievirus B3 (CB3) infection. These cytokines are known to be critical for the development of autoimmune heart disease, and are also rapidly produced from activated mast cells (MC). Degranulating MC were observed as early as 6 h following CB3 infection in the heart, and significantly higher numbers of MC were found in the spleen of susceptible BALB/c mice at this time. Thus, susceptibility to autoimmune heart disease can be determined as early as 6 h following viral infection in susceptible strains of mice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk