Heart-reactive antibodies are commonly observed in patients with myocarditis or cardiomyopathy. Such antibodies may be important in the pathogenesis of these disorders, yet the specific antigens recognized have not been studied systematically. This report characterizes circulating heart autoantibodies from patients with myocarditis (n = 17) or idiopathic cardiomyopathy (n = 71) and from healthy volunteers (n = 15). Indirect immunofluorescence demonstrated that high titer (≥1:20) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody activity occurred in 59% of the myocarditis samples, 20% of the cardiomyopathy samples and none of the normal samples. All samples were tested by Western immunoblotting for IgG activity against a normal human heart extract. The number of antigens recognized by each sample was enumerated and the molecular weight of each antigen estimated; the prevalence of reactivity against antigens in selected molecular weight classes was determined. There was no difference in the mean number of heart antigens recognized by serum from each group. For most weight classes, prevalence either did not differ significantly among the various groups or subgroups or was greatest among samples from healthy volunteers. Prevalence of reactivity with 190 to 199 kilodalton (kd) antigens was greatest (p < 0.05) among low titer serum samples from patients with myocarditis. High titer cardiomyopathy serum differed from normal serum by an increased (p < 0.05) prevalence of antibodies to 40 to 49 and 100 to 109 kd antigens. These results suggest that western immunostaining may ultimately contribute substantively to identifying patients with myocarditis or cardiomyopathy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine