Learning from myocarditis: Mimicry, chaos and black holes

Noel R. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Autoimmune myocarditis and its sequel, dilated cardiomyopathy, are major causes of heart failure, especially in children and young adults. We have developed anal models to investigate their pathogenesis by infecting genetically susceptible mice with coxsackievirus B3 or by immunizing them with cardiac myosin or its immunodominant peptide. A number of valuable lessons have emerged from our study of this paradigm of an infection-induced autoimmune disease. We understand more clearly how natural autoimmunity, as an important component of normal physiology, must be recalibrated regularly due to changes caused by infection or other internal and external stimuli. A new normal homeostatic platform will be established based on its evolutionary fitness. A loss of homeostasis with out-of-control normal autoimmunity leads to autoimmune disease. It is signified early on by a spread of an adaptive autoimmune response to novel epitopes and neighboring antigens. The progression from infection to normal, well-balanced autoimmunity to autoimmune disease and on to irreversible damage is a complex, step-wise process. Yet, chaos theory provides hope that the pattern is potentially predictable. Infection-induced autoimmune disease represents a sequence of events heading for a train wreck at the end of the line. Our aim in autoimmune disease research must be to stop the train before this happens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalF1000Prime Reports
StatePublished - May 6 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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