Coxsackievirus B-3 myocarditis in Balb/c mice. Evidence for autoimmunity to myocyte antigens

Am J Pathol. 1984 Jul;116(1):21-9.


Male Balb/c mice inoculated with a heart-adapted variant of Coxsackievirus, group B, type 3 (Nancy) (CVB3M), develop extensive myocarditis and cytolytic activity to primary cultures of uninfected and infected myocytes. To elucidate the mechanisms of myocyte injury in myocarditis, two distinct cytolytic T-lymphocyte (CTL) populations were isolated by immunoadsorption of lymph node cells to glutaraldehyde-fixed uninfected and infected myocyte monolayers. One population preferentially adsorbed to and lysed uninfected myocytes (autoreactive CTLs), while the other adsorbed to and lysed CVB3M-infected myocytes (virus-specific CTL). Neither CTL population adsorbed to monolayers of HeLa, L929, or umbilical cord endothelial cells, or to myocytes infected with a related but nonmyocarditic Coxsackievirus B-3 variant ( CVB3o ). While both autoreactive and virus-specific CTLs induced myocarditis in vivo, the lesions caused by autoreactive CTLs were more extensive and necrotizing than those of virus-specific cells. These results support the hypothesis that CVB3 -induced myocarditis results, in part, from autoimmunity to myocyte antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / immunology*
  • Enterovirus B, Human
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Myocarditis / immunology*
  • Myocardium / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens