Delayed-type Hypersensitivity to Metals in Newly Diagnosed Patients With Nonischemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2020 Jun 15. doi: 10.1007/s12012-020-09582-6. Online ahead of print.


The causes of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy are classified as genetic or nongenetic, but environmental factors such as metal pollutants may interact with genetic susceptibility. The presence of metal particles has been detected in the myocardium, including in those patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. It is also known that hypersensitivity reactions can induce inflammation in tissue. The present study aimed to verify if metal-induced delayed-type hypersensitivity is present in patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy. The patient group consisted of 30 patients with newly diagnosed dilated cardiomyopathy; the control group comprised 41 healthy subjects. All patients and control subjects provided blood samples for lymphocyte transformation testing (MELISA®) to assess possible hypersensitivity to seven common metals. Specific exposure to metals was based on interview data. Results showed that exposure to cadmium and lead (p = 0.0002), aluminum (p = 0.0006), nickel (p = 0.0012), and chromium (p = 0.0065) was more often reported by patients than controls. The patients also had significantly more frequent hypersensitivity reactions to mercury (26.7% vs. 7.3%, p = 0.014624), nickel (40% vs. 12.2%, p = 0.02341), and silver (20% vs. 4.8%, p = 0.025468) than the control group. Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy had greater exposure to certain metals compared with healthy controls. Hypersensitivity to metals was more frequent in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, suggesting a possible association that warrants further investigation.

Keywords: Delayed-type hypersensitivity; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Inflammation; Lymphocyte transformation test; Metal exposure.