DOI: 10.1002/rmv.2478 ISSN:

The knowns and unknowns of cardiac autoimmunity in viral myocarditis

Kiruthiga Mone, Jay Reddy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


Myocarditis can result from various infectious and non‐infectious causes that can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and heart failure. Among the infectious causes, viruses are commonly suspected. But the challenge is our inability to demonstrate infectious viral particles during clinical presentations, partly because by that point, the viruses would have damaged the tissues and be cleared by the immune system. Therefore, viral signatures such as viral nucleic acids and virus‐reactive antibodies may be the only readouts pointing to viruses as potential primary triggers of DCM. Thus, it becomes hard to explain persistent inflammatory infiltrates that might occur in individuals affected with chronic myocarditis/DCM manifesting myocardial dysfunctions. In these circumstances, autoimmunity is suspected, and antibodies to various autoantigens have been demonstrated, suggesting that immune therapies to suppress the autoimmune responses may be necessary. From this perspective, we endeavoured to determine whether or not the known viral causes are associated with development of autoimmune responses to cardiac antigens that include both cardiotropic and non‐cardiotropic viruses. If so, what their nature and significance are in developing chronic myocarditis resulting from viruses as primary triggers.

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