Autoimmune carditis is associated with many human rheumatic conditions, including rheumatic fever, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. The immune mechanisms that mediate the cardiovascular pathology connected to these diseases are poorly defined. Several animal models are used to recapitulate human pathophysiology in order to better characterize the immunopathogenic mechanisms driving autoimmune endocardial inflammation. These animal models point toward common mechanisms mediating autoimmune endocarditis; in particular, CD4+ T cells and pro-inflammatory macrophages play critical roles in directing the disease process. The goals of this review are to discuss the prevailing animal models of autoimmune endocarditis and their underlying immunologic mechanisms and to provide insight regarding potential therapeutic targets in humans.
- T cell
- Valvular carditis