Background: Numerous basic studies have shown a relationship between interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the development or severity of myocarditis. However, there has been no study in which the effect of IL-6 levels in patients with myocarditis was evaluated. Methods: We enrolled control patients (n = 12) and consecutive patients with acute myocarditis (n = 13), including lymphocytic, eosinophilic, and giant cell myocarditis, and investigated the pathological and clinical effects of IL-6 on human myocarditis. Results: The serum IL-6 level in patients with myocarditis (16.7 [9.9, 103.8] pg/mL) was significantly higher than that in the control patients (1.4 [1.0, 1.9] pg/mL) (P<0.001). Immunohistochemical analysis showed that IL-6 was expressed in infiltrating inflammatory cells of endomyocardial biopsy samples from all patients with myocarditis. Moreover, the log-transformed value of serum IL-6 level showed significant positive correlations with serum creatine kinase (CK) level, CK-MB level, peak CK level, peak CK-MB level and C-reactive protein level (all P ≤ 0.005) and a negative correlation with the left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (p = 0.014). We divided the patients with myocarditis into a low IL-6 group (9.9 [4.5, 14.2] pg/dL, n = 7) and a high IL-6 group (108.9 [51.1, 130.9] pg/dL, n = 6). The degree of infiltration of IL-6-expressing inflammatory cells in myocardial samples obtained from patients in the high IL-6 group was significantly more severe than that in samples obtained from patients in the low IL-6 group. Furthermore, patients in the high IL-6 group significantly more frequently received catecholamine therapy (P = 0.005), venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (P = 0.029), and artificial respirator support (P = 0.021) in the acute phase of myocarditis. Conclusion: The results suggest that there is a strong impact of IL-6 on cardiac injury and dysfunction in patients with myocarditis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine