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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 519528, 14 pages
Research Article

Cardiac Fibroblasts Aggravate Viral Myocarditis: Cell Specific Coxsackievirus B3 Replication

1Clinic for General and Interventional Cardiology, University Heart Center Hamburg, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
2German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner Sites, Hamburg/Kiel/Lübeck, Germany
3Department of Cardiology and Pneumology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin (CBF), Berlin, Germany
4Department of Molecular Pathology, Institute for Pathology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
5German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner Sites, Berlin, Germany

Received 30 April 2014; Revised 22 August 2014; Accepted 25 August 2014; Published 13 October 2014

Academic Editor: Teresa Zelante

Copyright © 2014 Diana Lindner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease caused by viral infection. Different subpopulations of leukocytes enter the cardiac tissue and lead to severe cardiac inflammation associated with myocyte loss and remodeling. Here, we study possible cell sources for viral replication using three compartments of the heart: fibroblasts, cardiomyocytes, and macrophages. We infected C57BL/6j mice with Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) and detected increased gene expression of anti-inflammatory and antiviral cytokines in the heart. Subsequently, we infected cardiac fibroblasts, cardiomyocytes, and macrophages with CVB3. Due to viral infection, the expression of TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, and IFN-β was significantly increased in cardiac fibroblasts compared to cardiomyocytes or macrophages. We found that in addition to cardiomyocytes cardiac fibroblasts were infected by CVB3 and displayed a higher virus replication (132-fold increase) compared to cardiomyocytes (14-fold increase) between 6 and 24 hours after infection. At higher virus concentrations, macrophages are able to reduce the viral copy number. At low virus concentration a persistent virus infection was determined. Therefore, we suggest that cardiac fibroblasts play an important role in the pathology of CVB3-induced myocarditis and are another important contributor of virus replication aggravating myocarditis.