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J Pathol. 2002 Jul;197(3):388-94.

Tenascin-C is a useful marker for disease activity in myocarditis.

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Department of Pathology, Mie University School of Medicine, Japan.


Tenascin-C (TNC) is an extracellular matrix protein which appears at active sites of tissue remodelling during embryogenesis or cancer invasion. In normal heart, TNC is only present during the early stages of development but reappears in pathological states. This study examined the diagnostic value of TNC for assessing disease activity of myocarditis. Expression of TNC was examined in myosin-induced autoimmune myocarditis mouse models. Sequential changes in amount, localization and the producing cells were analysed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, western blotting, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization and compared with the histological picture. The expression of TNC was upregulated at a very early stage of myocarditis. Immunostaining was detectable before cell infiltration and myocytolysis became histologically apparent, remained during the active stage while cell infiltration and necrosis continued, and disappeared in scar tissue with healing. TNC immunostaining was always observed at the periphery of necrotic or degenerating cardiomyocytes in foci of inflammation, the expression level correlating with histological evidence of inflammatory activity. Interstitial fibroblasts were the major source of TNC, expressing the large isoform containing alternative splicing sites. These data demonstrate that TNC is a useful marker for evaluation of disease activity in myocarditis.

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