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1.  Protective Role of the Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway in a Mouse Model of Viral Myocarditis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112719.
Activation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, which relies on the α7nAchR (alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor), has been shown to decrease proinflammatory cytokines. This relieves inflammatory responses and improves the prognosis of patients with experimental sepsis, endotoxemia, ischemia/reperfusion injury, hemorrhagic shock, pancreatitis, arthritis and other inflammatory syndromes. However, whether the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway has an effect on acute viral myocarditis has not been investigated. Here, we studied the effects of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway on acute viral myocarditis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In a coxsackievirus B3 murine myocarditis model (Balb/c), nicotine and methyllycaconitine were used to stimulate and block the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, respectively. Relevant signal pathways were studied to compare their effects on myocarditis, survival rate, histopathological changes, ultrastructural changes, and cytokine levels. Nicotine treatments significantly improved survival rate, attenuated myocardial lesions, and downregulated the expression of TNF-α and IL-6. Methyllycaconitine decreased survival rate, aggravated myocardial lesions, and upregulated the expression of TNF-α and IL-6. In addition, levels of the signaling protein phosphorylated STAT3 were higher in the nicotine group and lower in the methyllycaconitine group compared with the untreated myocarditis group.
These results show that nicotine protects mice from CVB3-induced viral myocarditis and that methyllycaconitine aggravates viral myocarditis in mice. Because nicotine is a α7nAchR agonist and methyllycaconitine is a α7nAchR antagonist, we conclude that α7nAchR activation increases the phosphorylation of STAT3, reduces the expression of TNF-α and IL-6, and, ultimately, alleviates viral myocarditis. We also conclude that blocking α7nAchR reduces the phosphorylation of STAT3, increases the expression of TNF-α and IL-6, aggravating viral myocarditis.
PMCID: PMC4232511  PMID: 25396421
2.  Effects of carvedilol treatment on cardiac cAMP response element binding protein expression and phosphorylation in acute coxsackievirus B3-induced myocarditis 
The role of β-adrenergic stimulation on viral myocarditis has been investigated in animal models of viral myocarditis. Excess stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors by catecholamines causes phosphorylation/activation of cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) by the cAMP signaling pathway. CREB as an important regulator of gene expression mediates the cardiovascular remodeling process and promotes anti-inflammatory immune responses. However, the CREB expression and phosphorylation have not been studied, and the effects of carvedilol (a nonselective β-adrenoceptor antagonist) on the CREB has not been investigated in the setting of acute viral myocarditis.
This study was therefore designed to examine the effects of carvedilol on the transcriptional factor CREB in a murine model of acute viral myocarditis. In a coxsackievirus B3 murine myocarditis model (Balb/c), effects of carvedilol on plasma noradrenaline, heart rate and blood pressure, myocardial histopathological changes and fibrosis, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, cardiac CREB and phosphorylated CREB, cytokine levels, and viral RNA were studied.
The expression and phosphorylation of CREB were decreased with concomitant increase of IL-6 and TNF-α in murine coxsackievirus-induced acute viral myocarditis. The levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were correlated with the expression of CREB or phosphorylated CREB. Carvedilol increased the cardiac CREB expression and phosphorylation and decreased the plasma catecholamine levels and the production of IL-6 and TNF-α with amelioration of acute viral myocarditis.
These results show that CREB may be involved in the pathophysiology of viral myocarditis and carvedilol exerts some of its beneficial effects by increasing the CREB expression and phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC3840656  PMID: 24225056
Viral myocarditis; cAMP response element binding protein; Carvedilol
3.  Comparison of Effects of Ivabradine versus Carvedilol in Murine Model with the Coxsackievirus B3-Induced Viral Myocarditis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39394.
Elevated heart rate is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity. The selective If current inhibitor ivabradine reduces heart rate without affecting cardiac contractility, and has been shown to be cardioprotective in the failing heart. Ivabradine also exerts some of its beneficial effects by decreasing cardiac proinflammatory cytokines and inhibiting peroxidants and collagen accumulation in atherosclerosis or congestive heart failure. However, the effects of ivabradine in the setting of acute viral myocarditis and on the cytokines, oxidative stress and cardiomyocyte apoptosis have not been investigated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The study was designed to compare the effects of ivabradine and carvedilol in acute viral myocarditis. In a coxsackievirus B3 murine myocarditis model (Balb/c), effects of ivabradine and carvedilol (a nonselective β-adrenoceptor antagonist) on myocardial histopathological changes, cardiac function, plasma noradrenaline, cytokine levels, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, malondialdehyde and superoxide dismutase contents were studied. Both ivabradine and carvedilol similarly and significantly reduced heart rate, attenuated myocardial lesions and improved the impairment of left ventricular function. In addition, ivabradine treatment as well as carvedilol treatment showed significant effects on altered myocardial cytokines with a decrease in the amount of plasma noradrenaline. The increased myocardial MCP-1, IL-6, and TNF-α. in the infected mice was significantly attenuated in the ivabradine treatment group. Only carvedilol had significant anti-oxidative and anti-apoptoic effects in coxsackievirus B3-infected mice.
These results show that the protective effects of heart rate reduction with ivabradine and carvedilol observed in the acute phase of coxsackievirus B3 murine myocarditis may be due not only to the heart rate reduction itself but also to the downregulation of inflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC3386276  PMID: 22761780
4.  Establishment of a canine model of cardiac memory using endocardial pacing via internal jugular vein 
Development of experimental animal models has played an important role in understanding the mechanisms of cardiac memory. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a new canine model of cardiac memory using endocardial ventricular pacing via internal jugular vein.
Twelve Beagle dogs underwent placement of a permanent ventricular pacemaker mimicking the use of pacemakers in humans and induction of cardiac memory by endocardial ventricular pacing.
Cardiac memory was achieved in 11 of 12 attempts overall. Procedural mortality due to cardiac tamponade (n = 1) occurred in the first attempt. The T-wave memory persisted for 96 ± 17 minutes and 31 ± 6 days in the short-term and long-term cardiac memory groups, respectively. There were no significant differences in the heart rate, blood pressure and echocardiographic parameters in the animals between before and after ventricular pacing in the short-term and long-term cardiac memory groups. No significant pathologic changes with the light microscopy were found in the present study in all dogs.
The model does require surgery but is not as invasive as an open-chest model. This canine model can serve as a useful tool for studying mechanisms of cardiac memory.
PMCID: PMC2906410  PMID: 20569432

Results 1-4 (4)