Myocardial infarction triggers infiltration of several types of immune cells that coordinate both innate and adaptive immune responses. These play a dual role in post-infarction cardiac remodeling by initiating and resolving inflammatory processes, which needs to occur in a timely and well-orchestrated way to ensure a reestablishment of normalized cardiac functions. Thus, therapeutic modulation of immune responses might have benefits for infarct patients. While such strategies have shown great potential in treating cancer, applications in the post-infarction context have been disappointing. One challenge has been the complexity and plasticity of immune cells and their functions in cardiac regulation and healing. The types appear in patterns that are temporally and spatially distinct, while influencing each other and the surrounding tissue. A comprehensive understanding of the immune cell repertoire and their regulatory functions following infarction is sorely needed. Processes of cardiac remodeling trigger additional genetic changes that may also play critical roles in the aftermath of cardiovascular disease. Some of these changes involve non-coding RNAs that play crucial roles in the regulation of immune cells and may, therefore, be of therapeutic interest. This review summarizes what is currently known about the functions of immune cells and non-coding RNAs during post-infarction wound healing. We address some of the challenges that remain and describe novel therapeutic approaches under development that are based on regulating immune responses through non-coding RNAs in the aftermath of the disease.
Keywords: Immune response; Inflammation; Lymphocyte; Macrophage; Myocardial infarction; Neutrophil; Therapeutic strategy.