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The functional role of CXC chemokine ligand 10 in coxackievirus B3-induced myocarditis Yuan, Ji


Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is the primary cause of viral myocarditis. The role of cystein-x-cystein (CXC) chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10, formerly interferon-y-inducible protein 10) in CVB3-induced myocarditis is unknown. To explore the contribution of CXCL10 to CVB3-induced myocarditis, we performed functional analyses using newly generated transgenic mice with cardiac-specific CXCL10 overexpression (Tg) and CXCL10 knock out (KO) mice. The mRNA levels of CXCL10 peaked in the myocardium at day 3 post-infection prior to immune infiltration, suggesting that mainly resident cells of the heart are the sources of CXCL10. Indeed, we showed that CXCL10 can be induced by IFN-y but not by CVB3 infection in cultured cardiomyocytes. Further, a transgenic mouse model with cardiac-specific overexpression of CXCL10 was generated. CXCL10 Tg mice had spontaneous infiltrations of mononuclear cells with limited mRNA upregulation of IFN-y and IL-10, which were not sufficient to cause the impairment of cardiomyocyte or cardiac function. Following CVB3 infection, the viral titre in the mouse hearts inversely correlated with the levels of CXCL10 at day 3 post-infection. Further, the decreased virus titers in the CXCL10 Tg mouse hearts led to reduced cardiac damage indicated by low serum cTnI levels and improved cardiac functional performance and vice versa in the KO mice. This antiviral ability of CXCL10 may be through increased recruitment of natural killer (NK) cells to the heart and increased IFN-y expression early post-infection. At days 7 and day 10 post-infection with massive influx of mononuclear cells, the expression of CXCL10 enhanced the infiltration of CXCR3+ cells, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells as well as their associated inflammatory cytokines. However, the augmented accumulation of these immune cells and associated cytokines did not alter the viral clearance and mouse survival. Our data demonstrate for the first time that CXCL1 0 confers the protection to the heart during the early course of CVB3 infection, which may be primarily attributed to NK cell recruitment to the site of infection. This data suggest that CXCL10 is an important player in the orchestrated action of a group of cytokines and chemokines in combating against the CVB3-induced myocarditis in the early phase of infection.

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