Antigen-specific T-cells infiltrate the heart and play an important role in the myocardial damage involved in acute myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy. To investigate the roles of the co-stimulatory molecules CD30/CD30L, CD27/CD27L, OX40/OX40L, and 4-1BB/4-1BBL, which belong to the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor/ligand superfamily, in the development of acute viral myocarditis, the expression of these molecules was first analysed in the hearts of mice with acute myocarditis induced by Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) in vivo. Secondly, the induction of these molecules was evaluated on cultured cardiac myocytes treated with interferon (IFN)-gamma and the interleukin (IL)-6 production by cultured cardiac myocytes was analysed by stimulation with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against these molecules in vitro. Thirdly, the effects of in vivo administration of anti-CD30L, anti-CD27L, anti-OX40L, or anti-4-1BBL MAb on the development of acute viral myocarditis were examined. CVB3-induced myocarditis resulted in the induction of CD30L and 4-1BBL on the surface of cardiac myocytes, confirmed by treatment with IFN-gamma in vitro. CD27L and OX40L were constitutively expressed on cardiac myocytes in vivo and in vitro. Anti-CD30L and anti-4-1BBL MAbs stimulated IL-6 production by cardiac myocytes in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo anti-4-1BBL MAb treatment significantly decreased the myocardial inflammation, whereas the other MAbs did not. These findings suggest that TNF ligand superfamily co-stimulatory molecules, especially 4-1BBL, play an important role in the development of acute viral myocarditis and raise the possibility that immunotherapy with anti-4-1BBL MAb may be of benefit in acute viral myocarditis.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.