ISG Summer Meeting 2016

Poster Prize - Merit Award

Dr Aoife Murray
NUIG / Mayo Clinic USA

Poster (16S150)

The Effect of Dietary Gluten and Intestinal Permeability on Autoimmune Myocarditis


Aoife M. Murray,1,2 Eric V. Marietta,1,3 David Luckey,1 Chella S. David,1 and Veena Taneja


1Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA 2National University Ireland Galway, School of Medicine 3Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA


Autoimmune myocarditis can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy resulting in death. Aetiology of the disease is poorly understood. Studies have shown that it can be associated with coeliac disease, an immune reaction against dietary gluten characterised by anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTg) and anti-gliadin antibodies. Recent studies have attributed the development of coeliac disease to an increase in intestinal permeability (IP) that leads to availability of luminal antigens to systemic immune response.


The aim of this study was to determine if autoimmune myocarditis is associated with dietary gluten and/or increased IP.


We took advantage of humanised mice expressing HLA-DQ8.Abo.NOD that develop spontaneous autoimmune myocarditis and are gluten-sensitive. Mice were fed various diets; standard (contains gluten), gluten-enriched, and gluten-free diets, to determine if it affected the frequency and age of onset of myocarditis, anti-tTG antibodies and its correlation to IP in transgenic mice. Permeability was measured at various ages using orally-administered FITC-labelled dextran. Myocarditis was identified with heart-to-body ratios and heart histopathology. Production of sera antibodies against gliadin and tissue transglutaminase (tTG) was measured by ELISA.


No association was found between dietary gluten and development of autoimmune myocarditis. However, mice with myocarditis showed increased IP and significantly higher anti-tTG IgG antibodies compared to healthy mice.


In conclusion, our study showed that in the absence of association of dietary gluten and myocarditis, it is pertinent to explore the role of increased gut permeability and anti-tTG antibodies in pathogenesis of disease as well as useful biomarkers.

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