Silencing of CCR2 in myocarditis

Florian Leuschner, Gabriel Courties, Partha Dutta, Luke J. Mortensen, Rostic Gorbatov, Brena Sena, Tatiana I. Novobrantseva, Anna Borodovsky, Kevin Fitzgerald, Victor Koteliansky, Yoshiko Iwamoto, Marina Bohlender, Soeren Meyer, Felix Lasitschka, Benjamin Meder, Hugo A. Katus, Charles Lin, Peter Libby, Filip K. Swirski, Daniel G. AndersonRalph Weissleder, Matthias Nahrendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Background Myocarditis is characterized by inflammatory cell infiltration of the heart and subsequent deterioration of cardiac function. Monocytes are the most prominent population of accumulating leucocytes. We investigated whether in vivo administration of nanoparticle-encapsulated siRNA targeting chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2)-a chemokine receptor crucial for leucocyte migration in humans and mice-reduces inflammation in autoimmune myocarditis. Methods and results In myocardium of patients with myocarditis, CCL2 mRNA levels and CCR2+ cells increased (P < 0.05), motivating us to pursueCCR2 silencing. Flowcytometric analysis showed that siRNA silencing of CCR2 (siCCR2) reduced the number of Ly6Chigh monocytes in hearts of mice with acute autoimmune myocarditis by 69% (P < 0.05), corroborated by histological assessment. The nanoparticle-delivered siRNA was not only active in monocytes but also in bone marrow haematopoietic progenitor cells. Treatment with siCCR2 reduced the migration of bone marrow granulocyte macrophage progenitors into the blood. Cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after injection of macrophage-avid magnetic nanoparticles detected myocarditis and therapeutic effects of RNAi non-invasively. Mice with acute myocarditis showed enhanced macrophage MRI contrast, which was prevented by siCCR2 (P < 0.05). Follow-up MRI volumetry revealed that siCCR2 treatment improved ejection fraction (P < 0.05 vs. control siRNA-treated mice). Conclusion This study highlights the importance ofCCR2in the pathogenesis of myocarditis. In addition, we show that siCCR2 affects leucocyte progenitor trafficking. The data also point to a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of myocarditis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1478-1488
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number23
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Molecular imaging
  • Myocarditis
  • Nanoparticle
  • SiRNA


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