Background: Myosin-induced autoimmune myocarditis of rats is a model of human dilated cardiomyopathy. Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol found in grapes and wine that is reported to have cardioprotective and immunomodulatory effects.
Methods and results: To examine the effect of resveratrol on myocarditis, vehicle or resveratrol (50 mg/kg per day) was administered to cardiac myosin immunized rats 1 day before the immunization. At 14 days after immunization, resveratrol had preserved cardiac function of myosin-immunized rats according to echocardiographic analysis. The heart weight/tibial length ratio of vehicle-treated myosin-immunized rats was increased by 1.8-fold compared with unimmunized rats, and resveratrol attenuated the heart weight increase. Resveratrol significantly decreased cellular infiltration, fibrosis, and expression of inflammatory cytokines in the myocardium. Expressions of antioxidant genes were increased in myosin-immunized hearts, and resveratrol decreased those expressions. Resveratrol also attenuated myocarditis 21 days after immunization. SIRT1, a potential effector of resveratrol, was increased in the myocardium of myosin-immunized rats compared with unimmunized rats. The SIRT1 protein was localized mainly in infiltrating mononuclear cells.
Conclusions: Resveratrol significantly ameliorated myocardial injury and preserved cardiac function in a rat model of autoimmune myocarditis. Resveratrol may be a therapeutic modality for myocarditis.