Electrocardiographic Abnormalities in a Murine Model Injected With IgG From Mothers of Children With Congenital Heart Block

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It is a widely held view that congenital heart block (CHB) is caused by the transplacental transfer of maternal autoantibodies (anti-SSA/Ro and/or anti-SSB/La) into the fetal circulation. To test this hypothesis and to reproduce human CHB, an experimental mouse model (BALB/c) was developed by passive transfer of human autoantibodies into pregnant mice.


The passive transfer model demonstrated bradycardia, first-degree but not complete atrioventricular block in pups. The greater percentage and degree of bradycardia and PR prolongation in the 11-day mouse group correlates with the "window period" of susceptibility observed in humans. The high incidence of bradycardia suggests possible sinoatrial node involvement. All together, these data provide relevant insights into the pathogenesis of CHB. (Circulation. 1999;99:1914-1918.)

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