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Clinical Research in Cardiology

, Volume 96, Issue 7, pp 469–480 | Cite as

Autoimmunological features in inflammatory cardiomyopathy

  • Angela Kallwellis-Opara
  • Andrea Dörner
  • Wolfgang-Christian Poller
  • Michel Noutsias
  • Uwe Kühl
  • Heinz-Peter Schultheiss
  • Mathias PauschingerEmail author
REVIEW

Abstract

During recent years, increasing evidence has been obtianed that cellular as well as humoral autoimmunity is involved in the pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The immune system is generally activated by viral infections with the objective of virus elimination from the myocardium. However, a relevant number of patients demonstrate viral persistence and/or chronic inflammation in the myocardium. This chronic myocardial inflammation, defined by chronic inflammation, is termed “inflammatory cardiomyopathy” according to the WHO classification of cardiomyopathies. Chronic inflammation is frequently followed by the development of autoimmunity. A breakdown in the control mechanisms protecting against autoimmune reactions by both presentation of normally not accessible self-antigens and bystander- activation, induced by the pathogen, leads to the formation of autoreactive antibodies and T cells. The auto-reactive antibodies interact directly with heart tissue resulting in altered signal transduction or complement activation, whereas the T cell-mediated mechanisms include direct attack by cytotoxic T cells or indirect effects of cytotoxic cytokines released by stimulated T cells or macrophages.

Key words

inflammatory cardiomyopathy autoimmunity cardiac antigens 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Kallwellis-Opara
    • 1
  • Andrea Dörner
    • 1
  • Wolfgang-Christian Poller
    • 1
  • Michel Noutsias
    • 1
  • Uwe Kühl
    • 1
  • Heinz-Peter Schultheiss
    • 1
  • Mathias Pauschinger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin-FranklinMedizinische Klinik II, Abteilung für Kardiologie und PneumologieBerlinGermany

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