Infectious myocarditis is the result of an immune response to a microbial infection of the heart. The blood vessels of the heart, both the intramyocardial microvasculature and the large epicardial coronary arteries, play an important role in the pathogenesis of infectious myocarditis. First of all, in addition to cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells of the cardiac (micro)vasculature are direct targets for infection. Moreover, through the expression of adhesion molecules and antigen presenting Major Histocompatibility Complex molecules, the blood vessels assist in shaping the cellular immune response in infectious myocarditis. In addition, damage and dysfunction of the cardiac (micro)vasculature are associated with thrombus formation as well as aberrant regulation of vascular tone including coronary vasospasm. These in turn can cause cardiac perfusion abnormalities and even myocardial infarction. In this review, we will discuss the role of the cardiac (micro)vasculature in the pathogenesis of infectious myocarditis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-595
Number of pages13
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Endothelial cells
  • Infection
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Myocarditis
  • Vasculature

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