Organ-Specific Cardiac Autoantibodies in Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Pathogenetic Implications
In autoimmune conditions, disease- and organ-specific autoantibodies are found in patients and a proportion of their symptom-free relatives . In patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) circulating autoantibodies to multiple cardiac autoantigens have been described, providing evidence for autoimmune involvement [2–6]. Using indirect immunofluorescence (IFL) and absorption studies, we reported organ- and disease-specific cardiac autoantibodies in one third of distinct patient series from England , Poland  and Italy . Similar findings have been presented in DCM patients from the United States . Relevant autoantigens recognised by the antibodies detected by IFL include a (atrial) and β (ventricular and slow skeletal) myosin heavy chain . In the majority of other organ-specific autoimmune conditions autoantibodies are not directly involved in myocardial damage, which is T cell-mediated, but represent reliable pathogenetic markers and non-invasive predictors of symptom-free individuals at risk, particularly relatives of affected patients . We will focus upon clinical significance and pathogenetic implications of the organ-specific cardiac antibodies detected by the IFL test in DCM patients and their relatives.
KeywordsDilate Cardiomyopathy Myosin Heavy Chain Rheumatic Heart Disease Idiopathic Dilate Cardiomyopathy Islet Cell Autoantibody
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