In vivo significance of T cells in the development of Coxsackievirus B3 myocarditis in mice. Immature but antigen-specific T cells aggravate cardiac injury.
Acute myocardial damage similar to that seen in human myocarditis occurs in BALB/c mice after infection with coxsackievirus B3 (CB3) or encephalomyocarditis virus (EMC). To investigate the role of antigen-specific T cells in the pathogenesis of this disorder, we compared CB3 disease expression in T cell-deficient, athymic nude (nu/nu) mice, in heterozygote (nu/+) mice with normal T cell function, and in nu/nu mice reconstituted with spleen cells from CB3- or EMC-infected nu/+ mice. Acute myocarditis occurred in both nu/nu and nu/+ mice. Severe myocarditis, however, developed only in nu/+ and nu/nu mice reconstituted with CB3-sensitized T cells, but not in those reconstituted with EMC-sensitized T cells. Myocardial virus titer and serum anti-CB3 antibody production were similar in nu/+ and nu/nu groups. Additionally, the presence of Thy 1.2 (pan T), Ly 1 (precursor of other T cell subsets), and Ly 2 (suppressor/cytotoxic T) positive cells was demonstrated in the myocardium in nu/+ and nu/nu mice reconstituted with CB3-sensitized T cells, but not with T cells sensitized by another virus, EMC. These results indicate that immature but antigen-specific T cells play a role in the pathogenesis of ongoing myocarditis.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association