Antiviral interferon-β treatment in patients with chronic viral cardiomyopathy

  • Heinz-Peter Schultheiss
  • Michel Noutsias
  • Uwe Kühl
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


The etiology of “idiopathic” dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is due to persistence of viruses in ca. 60% of the patients presenting with DCM. This can be concluded from the high rate of detectable viral genomes in endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) samples in such patients. The pivotal role of interferons (IFN) as a natural defense system against viruses is well documented by experimental data. In an open-label pilot trial, 22 patients with EMB-proven persistence of viral genomes [enterovirus (EV), 15 patients; adenovirus (ADV), 7 patients] were treated with recombinant IFN-β1a. In parallel to the viral elimination proven after 6-month antiviral treatment, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) improved, end-diastolic diameters declined significantly, and an amelioration of heart failure symptoms was evident. In patients with immunohistologically proven intramyocardial inflammation a substantial decrease of infiltrates and cell adhesion molecule expression was noted after IFN treatment. There were no severe side effects. Based on the favorable results of this pilot study, the randomized European-wide multicenter BICC trial (Betaferon®: Interferon-β in Patients With Chronic Viral Cardiomyopathy) for IFN-β1b treatment of patients with EMB-proven persistence of EV, ADV and parvovirus B19 (B19V) was conducted.


Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction Dilate Cardiomyopathy Acute Myocarditis Viral Elimination Cardiotropic Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinz-Peter Schultheiss
    • 1
  • Michel Noutsias
    • 2
  • Uwe Kühl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiology and PneumonologyCharité — Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine — CardiologyUniversity Hospital of Marburg and Giessen, Philipps-Universität MarburgMarburgGermany

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