The impact of juvenile coxsackievirus infection on cardiac progenitor cells and postnatal heart development

PLoS Pathog. 2014 Jul 31;10(7):e1004249. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004249. eCollection 2014 Jul.


Coxsackievirus B (CVB) is an enterovirus that most commonly causes a self-limited febrile illness in infants, but cases of severe infection can manifest in acute myocarditis. Chronic consequences of mild CVB infection are unknown, though there is an epidemiologic association between early subclinical infections and late heart failure, raising the possibility of subtle damage leading to late-onset dysfunction, or chronic ongoing injury due to inflammatory reactions during latent infection. Here we describe a mouse model of juvenile infection with a subclinical dose of coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) which showed no evident symptoms, either immediately following infection or in adult mice. However following physiological or pharmacologically-induced cardiac stress, juvenile-infected adult mice underwent cardiac hypertrophy and dilation indicative of progression to heart failure. Evaluation of the vasculature in the hearts of adult mice subjected to cardiac stress showed a compensatory increase in CD31+ blood vessel formation, although this effect was suppressed in juvenile-infected mice. Moreover, CVB3 efficiently infected juvenile c-kit+ cells, and cardiac progenitor cell numbers were reduced in the hearts of juvenile-infected adult mice. These results suggest that the exhausted cardiac progenitor cell pool following juvenile CVB3 infection may impair the heart's ability to increase capillary density to adapt to increased load.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / pathology*
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enterovirus B, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Fibrosis / virology
  • Heart / growth & development*
  • Heart / virology
  • Heart Failure / chemically induced
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Heart Failure / virology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / virology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / virology
  • Stress, Physiological