Monocytes prime autoreactive T cells after myocardial infarction

Matthew DeBerge, Shuangjin Yu, Shirley Dehn, Igal Ifergan, Xin Yi Yeap, Mallory Filipp, Amanda Becker, Xunrong Luo, Stephen Miller, Edward B. Thorp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In humans, loss of central tolerance for the cardiac self-antigen α-myosin heavy chain (α-MHC) leads to circulation of cardiac autoreactive T cells and renders the heart susceptible to autoimmune attack after acute myocardial infarction (MI). MI triggers profound tissue damage, releasing danger signals and self-antigen by necrotic cardiomyocytes, which lead to recruitment of inflammatory monocytes. We hypothesized that excessive inflammation by monocytes contributes to the initiation of adaptive immune responses to cardiac self-antigen. Using an experimental model of MI in α-MHC-mCherry reporter mice, which specifically express mCherry in cardiomyocytes, we detected α-MHC antigen in myeloid cells in the heart-draining mediastinal lymph node (MLN) 7 days after MI. To test whether monocytes were required for cardiac self-antigen trafficking to the MLN, we blocked monocyte recruitment with a C-C motif chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2) antagonist or immune modifying nanoparticles (IMP). Blockade of monocyte recruitment reduced α-MHC antigen detection in the MLN after MI. Intramyocardial injection of the model antigen ovalbumin into OT-II transgenic mice demonstrated the requirement for monocytes in antigen trafficking and T-cell activation in the MLN. Finally, in nonobese diabetic mice, which are prone to postinfarction autoimmunity, blockade of monocyte recruitment reduced α-MHC-specific responses leading to improved tissue repair and ventricular function 28 days after MI. Taken together, these data support a role for monocytes in the onset of pathological cardiac autoimmunity following MI and suggest that therapeutic targeting of monocytes may mitigate postinfarction autoimmunity in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H116-H123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Autoimmunity
  • Monocytes
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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