PD1 Deficiency Modifies Cardiac Immunity during Baseline Conditions and in Reperfused Acute Myocardial Infarction

The programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) immune checkpoint prevents inflammatory tissue damage by inhibiting immune reactions. Understanding the relevance of cardiac PD1 signaling may provide new insights into the inflammatory events under baseline conditions and disease. Here, we demonstrate distinct immunological changes upon PD1 deficiency in healthy hearts and during reperfused acute myocardial infarction (repAMI). In PD1-deficient mice, upregulated inflammatory cytokines were identified under baseline conditions including cardiac interleukins and extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). A murine in vivo repAMI model to determine inflammatory changes in the early phase showed downregulation of the ligand PDL1, paralleled by an endothelial injury, indicated by loss of the CD31 signal. Immunofluorescence imaging showed decreased PDL1 expression specifically in the infarct zone, highlighting an involvement in PDL1 in myocardial injury response. Pharmacological depletion of PD1 prior to repAMI did not alter the area of infarction but led to increased numbers of CD8+ T cells in treated mice. We conclude that PD1/PDL1 signaling plays a significant role in healthy hearts and repAMI, emphasizing the relevance of adaptive immunity during myocardial injury. The findings highlight the risk for adverse outcomes from acute myocardial infarction in the growing group of patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.


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