Coxsackie viral myocarditis is a common disease, yet idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy is a less common consequence. Insights gained from studying the Coxsackie virus B-3 murine model of myocarditis has led to the hypothesis that an acute Coxsackie viral myocarditis can result in persistent, non-viral mediated cellular responses that result in a chronic inflammatory state leading to progressive myocyte loss and ultimate development of dilated cardiomyopathy. Although the evidence linking myocarditis to dilated cardiomyopathy is circumstantial in man, the identification of defects in immunoregulation may provide the impetus to further research into the pathogenesis and ultimately the development of more rational therapies directed at modulating immune responses to alter the natural history of clinical dilated cardiomyopathy.
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