Natural products with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities against autoimmune myocarditis
Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the myocardium associated with immune dysfunction which may frequently lead to the development of dilated cardiomyopathy. Experimental autoimmune myocarditis is an animal model which mimics myocarditis in order to allow assessment of the therapeutic effects of different molecules on this disease. We aimed to review the inflammatory and immunological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the myocarditis and finding natural products and phytochemicals with anti-myocarditis activities based on studies of cardiac myosin-induced experimental autoimmune myocarditis in rodents. A number of natural molecules (e.g. apigenin, berberine and quercetin) along with some plant extracts were found to be effective in alleviating experimental autoimmune myocarditis. Upregulation of Th1-type cytokines and elevation of the Th2-type cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10), mitigation of oxidative stress, modulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways and increasing Sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase levels are among the most important anti-myocarditis mechanisms for the retrieved molecules and extracts. Interestingly, there are structural similarities between the anti-EAM compounds, suggesting the presence of similar pharmacophore and enzymatic targets for these molecules. Naturally occurring molecules discussed in the present article are potential anti-myocarditis drugs and future additional animal studies and clinical trials would shed more light on their effectiveness in the treatment of myocarditis and prevention of dilated cardiomyopathy.