Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Antonio Abbate


Acute myocarditis is an acute inflammatory syndrome characterized by myocardial damage and dysfunction often due to a viral infection followed by a variable development over time. There are currently no specific treatments and standard treatments for heart failure are generally applied. The inflammasome is a recently identified macromolecular structure that occupies a central role in the amplification of the inflammatory response and promotion of cell death during acute and chronic infections. We hypothesized the formation of the inflammasome in acute myocarditis. To investigate, samples of patients were collected from the Cardiomyopathy Registry in Trieste, with 12 cases of biopsy-proven myocarditis and 11 cases of autopsy-proven myocarditis stained for major components of the inflammasome through immunofluorescence; 10 of the 12 (83.3%) biopsy cases and 8 of the 11 (72.7%) autopsy cases presented formation of the inflammasome in a variety of cells including resident cells (i.e. cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, fibroblasts) and infiltrating cells (i.e. leukocytes) while varying in intensity and distribution. Control samples of 5 subjects not presenting with any acute cardiac events showed no formation of the inflammasome. While further studies should look to elucidate the correlation of inflammasome-formation and progression of disease, this finding paves the way for further insight into the pathophysiology of acute myocarditis.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Included in

Physiology Commons