Pathological and clinical effects of interleukin-6 on human myocarditis

Naofumi Amioka, Kazufumi Nakamura, Tomonari Kimura, Keiko Ohta-Ogo, Takehiro Tanaka, Tomohiro Toji, Satoshi Akagi, Koji Nakagawa, Norihisa Toh, Masashi Yoshida, Toru Miyoshi, Nobuhiro Nishii, Atsuyuki Watanabe, Ryotaro Asano, Takeshi Ogo, Yoshikazu Nakaoka, Hiroshi Morita, Hiroyuki Yanai, Hiroshi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Numerous basic studies have shown a relationship between interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the development or severity of myocarditis. However, there has been no study in which the effect of IL-6 levels in patients with myocarditis was evaluated. Methods: We enrolled control patients (n = 12) and consecutive patients with acute myocarditis (n = 13), including lymphocytic, eosinophilic, and giant cell myocarditis, and investigated the pathological and clinical effects of IL-6 on human myocarditis. Results: The serum IL-6 level in patients with myocarditis (16.7 [9.9, 103.8] pg/mL) was significantly higher than that in the control patients (1.4 [1.0, 1.9] pg/mL) (P<0.001). Immunohistochemical analysis showed that IL-6 was expressed in infiltrating inflammatory cells of endomyocardial biopsy samples from all patients with myocarditis. Moreover, the log-transformed value of serum IL-6 level showed significant positive correlations with serum creatine kinase (CK) level, CK-MB level, peak CK level, peak CK-MB level and C-reactive protein level (all P ≤ 0.005) and a negative correlation with the left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (p = 0.014). We divided the patients with myocarditis into a low IL-6 group (9.9 [4.5, 14.2] pg/dL, n = 7) and a high IL-6 group (108.9 [51.1, 130.9] pg/dL, n = 6). The degree of infiltration of IL-6-expressing inflammatory cells in myocardial samples obtained from patients in the high IL-6 group was significantly more severe than that in samples obtained from patients in the low IL-6 group. Furthermore, patients in the high IL-6 group significantly more frequently received catecholamine therapy (P = 0.005), venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (P = 0.029), and artificial respirator support (P = 0.021) in the acute phase of myocarditis. Conclusion: The results suggest that there is a strong impact of IL-6 on cardiac injury and dysfunction in patients with myocarditis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Interleukin-6
  • Myocarditis
  • Pathology
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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