Abstract 116: Detrimental Role of Toll-Like Receptor 4 in Cardiovirus-Induced Myocarditis
Picornavirus infections have been known as a leading cause of viral myocarditis in humans. Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) belongs to the genus Cardiovirus, the family Picornaviridae and was reported to cause inflammation in the heart in one manuscript, while its pathomechanism is unclear. In viral myocarditis, viral replication in the heart and/or immune responses against virus as well as heart-antigen (autoimmunity) can contribute to the pathogenesis. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that are important for recognizing pathogens as well as triggering innate immunity. Among TLRs, TLR4 has been demonstrated to play important roles in virus-mediated pathology: 1) TLR4 can contribute to viral entry in some viruses, 2) TLR4 may mediate tissue damage by anti-virus immune responses (immunopathology), 3) high levels of TLR4 expression were observed in the heart of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy following acute viral myocarditis, and 4) some viruses can bind to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is a TLR4 ligand. To determine the role of TLR4 in TMEV-induced myocarditis, we infected male C3H/HeJ (TLR4-deficient) and C3H/HeNtac (control TLR4+) mice with the DA strain of TMEV. We harvested the hearts and spleens on days 6 and 7 (acute phase) or days 63 and 64 (chronic phase) post-infection. Cardiac pathology was evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin staining and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-17A and interferon (IFN)-γ, from spleen cells was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In both mice, mild myocarditis was observed during the acute phase of TMEV infection. During the chronic phase, both mice developed severe pathology in the heart, including basophilic degeneration and calcification. However, the incidence of myocarditis was higher in control mice than TLR4-deficient mice. IL-17A and IFN-γ production was higher in control mice than in TLR4-deficient mice (control vs. TLR4-deficient mice, acute phase: IL-17A, 196 vs. 146 pg/ml; IFN-γ, 72 vs. 39 ng/ml; chronic phase: IL-17A, 290 vs. 229 pg/ml; IFN- γ, 142 vs. 88 ng/ml). These results suggest that TLR4 may be detrimental in TMEV-induced myocarditis by increasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.