Infection with Coxsackievirus B3 often leads to myocarditis - an inflammatory condition affecting the muscular walls of the heart. As Noel Rose and colleagues review here, heart-reactive autoantibodies produced as an unusual consequence of infection in some strains of mice were reactive with cardiac-specific myosin. Moreover, myosin (with complete Freund's adjuvant) could reproduce late-phase myocarditis when injected into susceptible mice. Hence, this virus appears to expose or release cardiac myosin and thereby initiates autoimmune myocarditis in genetically susceptible hosts.
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