The Balance of CD8-Positive T Cells and PD-L1 Expression in the Myocardium Predicts Prognosis in Lymphocytic Fulminant Myocarditis

Hiroaki Hiraiwa, Ryota Morimoto, Yuta Tsuyuki, Kaori Ushida, Ryota Ito, Shingo Kazama, Yuki Kimura, Takashi Araki, Takashi Mizutani, Hideo Oishi, Tasuku Kuwayama, Toru Kondo, Takahiro Okumura, Toyoaki Murohara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The clinical significance and prognostic value of T cell involvement and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) have not been established in lymphocytic fulminant myocarditis (FM). We investigated the prognostic impact of the number of CD4+, CD8+, FoxP3+, and PD-1+ T cells, as well as PD-L1 expression, in cardiomyocytes in lymphocytic FM. Methods: This is a single-center observational cohort study. Myocardial tissue was obtained from 16 consecutive patients at lymphocytic FM onset. The median follow-up was 140 days. Cardiac events were defined as a composite of cardiac death and left ventricular-assist device implantation. CD4, CD8, FoxP3, PD-1, and PD-L1 immunostaining were performed on myocardial specimens. Results: The median age of the patients was 52 years (seven men and nine women). There was no significant difference in the number of CD4+ cells. The number of CD8+ cells and the CD8+/CD4+ T cell ratio were higher in the cardiac event group (Event+) than in the group without cardiac events (Event−) (p = 0.048 and p = 0.022, respectively). The number of FoxP3+ T cells was higher in the Event+ group (p = 0.049). Although there was no difference in the number of PD-1+ cells, cardiomyocyte PDL1 expression was higher in the Event+ group (p = 0.112). Event-free survival was worse in the group with a high CD8+ cell count (p = 0.012) and high PD-L1 expression (p = 0.049). When divided into three groups based on the number of CD8+ cells and PD-L1 expression (CD8highPDL1high [n = 8], CD8lowPD-L1high [n = 1], and CD8lowPD-L1low [n = 7]), the CD8highPD-L1high group demonstrated the worst event-free survival, while the CD8lowPD-L1high group had a favorable prognosis without cardiac events (p = 0.041). Conclusion: High myocardial expression of CD8+ T cells and PD-L1 may predict a poor prognosis in lymphocytic FM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-39
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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