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Cardiovasc Pathol. 2002 Mar-Apr;11(2):112-22.

Pathophysiology of viral myocarditis: the role of humoral immune response.

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Department of Internal Medicine-Cardiology, Philipps-University Marburg, Baldingerstrasse 1, D-35033 Marburg, Germany.


The pathophysiology of viral myocarditis is still a matter of debate. Humoral autoimmunity in postviral heart disease remains an attractive but complex hypothesis. Antigenic mimicry with or without cytolytic antibody properties has been shown to play a role in the immunopathogenesis of myocarditis with respect to sarcolemmal/myolemmal epitopes (including the beta-receptor), myosin and some mitochondrial proteins including the antinucleotide translocator (ANT)-carrier and dihydrolipoamid dehydrogenase. Today, refined two-dimensional Western blots are able to identify receptors and enzymes that are target of a humoral immune response or the consequence of an "immunization process." A humoral immune response to an invading agent will most likely lead to immunodestruction first. After conversion to IgG, the continuing antibody response may indicate the healing or healed process and last for many years or life-long. This paper reviews our present knowledge on the humoral immune response in myocarditis and its interplay with the viral agents and the other components of the immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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