The immune system and the remodeling infarcted heart: Cell biological insights and therapeutic opportunities

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127 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT:: Extensive necrosis of ischemic cardiomyocytes in the infarcted myocardium activates the innate immune response triggering an intense inflammatory reaction. Release of danger signals from dying cells and damaged matrix activates the complement cascade and stimulates Toll-like receptor/interleukin-1 signaling, resulting in the activation of the nuclear factor-κB system and induction of chemokines, cytokines, and adhesion molecules. Subsequent infiltration of the infarct with neutrophils and mononuclear cells serves to clear the wound from dead cells and matrix debris, while stimulating reparative pathways. In addition to its role in repair of the infarcted heart and formation of a scar, the immune system is also involved in adverse remodeling of the infarcted ventricle. Overactive immune responses and defects in suppression, containment, and resolution of the postinfarction inflammatory reaction accentuate dilative remodeling in experimental models and may be associated with chamber dilation, systolic dysfunction, and heart failure in patients surviving a myocardial infarction. Interventions targeting the inflammatory response to attenuate adverse remodeling may hold promise in patients with myocardial infarction that exhibit accentuated, prolonged, or dysregulated immune responses to the acute injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cardiac remodeling
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Innate immunity
  • Leukocytes
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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