Pathogenic relevance of autoantibodies in dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Roland Jahns
  • Valérie Boivin
  • Georg Ertl
  • Martin J. Lohse
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart muscle disease of unknown origin characterized by progressive cardiac dilatation and loss of contractile function in the absence of coronary artery disease. Genetic causes and cardiotoxic substances account for about one third of the cases, but the etiology of the two other thirds is still poorly understood. However, within the past two decades evidence has grown continuously that autoimmunity to certain cardiac antigens may play an important role in the development of DCM. Recent experiments in rodents even indicate that autoantibodies targeting the cardiac β1 (catecholamine) receptor can actually cause the disease. Dependent on the individual genetic predisposition, such harmful autoimmune reactions most likely occur as a result of heart muscle damage induced by viral triggers, ischemia, and/or exposure to cardiotoxins leading to myocyte apoptosis or necrosis, and subsequent liberation of self antigens previously hidden to the immune system. The following article reviews current evidence and recent experimental and clinical findings focusing on the possible role of autoantibodies against a confined number of cardiac self antigens in the pathogenesis of DCM.


Dilate Cardiomyopathy Idiopathic Dilate Cardiomyopathy Cardiac Myosin Adenine Nucleotide Translocator Pathogenic Relevance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Jahns
    • 1
    • 2
  • Valérie Boivin
    • 2
  • Georg Ertl
    • 1
  • Martin J. Lohse
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, CardiologyUniversity Hospital of WürzburgWürzburg
  2. 2.Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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