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Int Immunol. 2009 Jul;21(7):817-29. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxp051. Epub 2009 Jun 10.

Nasal vaccination with troponin reduces troponin specific T-cell responses and improves heart function in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Myocardial ischemia with subsequent reperfusion (MI/R) can lead to significant myocardial damage. Ischemia initiates inflammation at the blood-microvascular endothelial cell interface and contributes significantly to both acute injury and repair of the damaged tissue. We have found that MI/R injury in mice is associated with a cellular immune response to troponin. Myocardial cells exclusively synthesize troponin and release the troponin into the bloodstream following injury. Mucosally administered proteins induce T cells that secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and transforming growth factor beta at the anatomical site where the protein localizes. We found that nasal administration of the three subunits of troponin (C, I and T isoforms), given prior to or 1 h following MI/R, decreased infarct size by 40% measured 24 h later. At 1.5 months following MI/R, there was a 50% reduction in infarct size and improvement in cardiac function as measured by echocardiography. Protection was associated with a reduction of cellular immunity to troponin. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated increased IL-10 and reduced IFN-gamma in the area surrounding the ischemic infarct following nasal troponin. Adoptive transfer of CD4+ T cells to mice from nasally troponin-treated mice 1 h after the MI/R decreased infarct size by 72%, whereas CD4+ T cells from IL-10-/- mice or nasally BSA-treated mice had no effect. Our results demonstrate that IL-10-secreting CD4+ T cells induced by nasal troponin reduce injury following MI/R. Modulation of cardiac inflammation by nasal troponin provides a novel treatment to decrease myocardial damage and enhance recovery after myocardial ischemia.

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