Objectives: This study was designed to evaluate the beneficial effect of beta-blockers on circulating cytokine levels in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Background: Elevated circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines have been reported in patients with DCM. However, alterations of the levels of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in association with beta-blocker therapy are unknown.
Methods: We studied 32 patients with idiopathic DCM who had been treated with digitalis, diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. In addition to this combination therapy, beta-blockers were started in all patients. Serum levels of interleukin (IL)-10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and soluble TNF receptors (sTNF-R1 and R2) were measured at baseline and 12 weeks after the initiation of beta-blocker therapy. We also measured plasma levels of neurohumoral factors, as well as left ventricular (LV) size and function. Ten age-matched subjects with no cardiac disease served as the control group.
Results: Baseline levels of IL-10, TNF-alpha and sTNF-R2 were significantly higher in patients with DCM than in control subjects (p < 0.05). There was a significant positive correlation between IL-10 and TNF-alpha levels (r = 0.545, p = 0.029). The TNF-alpha/IL-10 ratio correlated well with plasma epinephrine levels (r = 0.677, p = 0.025), and the level of sTNF-R2 was closely related to LV size. Serum levels of IL-10, TNF-alpha and sTNF-R2 were significantly decreased during beta-blocker therapy (p < 0.005).
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that beta-blockers have an important immunoregulatory role in modifying the dysregulated cytokine network in DCM. This effect of beta-blockers may be partly responsible for the efficacy of therapeutic drugs for heart failure.