CD45 is a more sensitive marker than CD3 to diagnose lymphocytic myocarditis in the endomyocardium

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To diagnose lymphocytic myocarditis (LM), immunohistopathological examination of endomyocardial biopsies (EMBs) is used with a cutoff value of at least 14 leukocytes per mm2, composed of CD3- and CD68-positive cells. We hypothesized that a more common leukocyte marker, CD45, instead of CD3 could increase the diagnostic sensitivity. Hearts of mice with acute viral myocarditis (n = 9) and of controls (n = 7) and the EMB sampling area of the left ventricular posterior wall (LVPW) obtained from autopsied hearts of patients diagnosed with LM (n = 18) and controls (n = 6) were stained with anti-CD68, anti-CD3, and anti-CD45. When applying the threshold of at least 14 leukocytes per mm2, 33% of the mice would be diagnosed with LM with the use of CD3+CD68 and 89% with the use of CD45+CD68. In the EMB sampling area of autopsied hearts, using the cutoff value of at least 14 leukocytes per mm2, CD3+CD68 could only confirm 17% of the diagnosis of LM, whereas CD45+CD68 could confirm 50% of the LM cases. Moreover, we compared inflammation in the EMB sampling area of the LVPW to the remaining myocardium of the LVPW and observed a significant increase of CD45+CD68 cells per mm2 in patients with LM. In conclusion, the use of the common leukocyte marker CD45 increases the sensitivity of the diagnosis of LM. Furthermore, the inflammatory infiltrate in the EMB sampling area is significantly increased compared with the remaining LVPW, indicating that the sampling area constitutes the highest chance for histological diagnosis of LM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Pathology
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • CD3
  • CD45
  • Endomyocardial biopsy
  • Inflammatory cells
  • Lymphocytic myocarditis

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