Stimulating pro-reparative immune responses to prevent adverse cardiac remodelling: consensus document from the joint 2019 meeting of the ESC Working Groups of cellular biology of the heart and myocardial function

Sabine Steffens, Sophie Van Linthout, Joost P G Sluijter, Carlo Gabriele Tocchetti, Thomas Thum, Rosalinda Madonna

Published: 01/09/2020


Cardiac injury may have multiple causes, including ischaemic, non-ischaemic, autoimmune, and infectious triggers. Independent of the underlying pathophysiology, cardiac tissue damage induces an inflammatory response to initiate repair processes. Immune cells are recruited to the heart to remove dead cardiomyocytes, which is essential for cardiac healing. Insufficient clearance of dying cardiomyocytes after myocardial infarction (MI) has been shown to promote unfavourable cardiac remodelling, which may result in heart failure (HF). Although immune cells are integral key players of cardiac healing, an unbalanced or unresolved immune reaction aggravates tissue damage that triggers maladaptive remodelling and HF. Neutrophils and macrophages are involved in both, inflammatory as well as reparative processes. Stimulating the resolution of cardiac inflammation seems to be an attractive therapeutic strategy to prevent adverse remodelling. Along with numerous experimental studies, the promising outcomes from recent clinical trials testing canakinumab or colchicine in patients with MI are boosting the interest in novel therapies targeting inflammation in cardiovascular disease patients. The aim of this review is to discuss recent experimental studies that provide new insights into the signalling pathways and local regulators within the cardiac microenvironment promoting the resolution of inflammation and tissue regeneration. We will cover ischaemia- and non-ischaemic-induced as well as infection-related cardiac remodelling and address potential targets to prevent adverse cardiac remodelling.

Full Access Link: Cardiovascular research