Liver X receptor activation enhances CVB3 viral replication during myocarditis by stimulating lipogenesis

Anna-Pia Papageorgiou*, Ward Heggermont, Marieke Rienks, Paolo Carai, Lies Langouche, Wouter Verhesen, Rudolf A. De Boer, Stephane Heymans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims Viral myocarditis (VM) is severe cardiac inflammation that can result in sudden death or congestive heart failure in previously healthy adults, with no effective therapy. Liver X receptor (LXR) agonists have both anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties. This study investigates whether LXR agonist T0901317 may modulate viral replication and cardiac inflammation during VM. Methods and results (i) Adult mice were administered T0901317 or vehicle with the onset of inflammation during CVB3 virus myocarditis or (ii) treated 2 days prior to CVB3 infection. Against what we expected, T0901317 treatment did not alter leucocyte infiltration after CVB3 infection; yet pre-administration with T0901317 resulted in increased mortality upon CVB3 infection, higher cardiac viral presence, and increased cardiomyocyte damage when compared with the vehicle. Furthermore, we show a correlation of fatty acid synthase (FAS) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) with CVB3 viral load in the heart and that T0901317 is able to enhance the cardiac expression of FAS and SREBP-1c. Finally, we show in vitro that T0901317 is able to exaggerate CVB3-mediated damage of Vero cells, whereas inhibitors of FAS and the SREBP-1c reduce the viral presence of CVB3 in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Conclusion LXR agonism does not modulate cardiac inflammation, but exacerbates virus-mediated myocardial damage during VM by stimulating lipid biosynthesis and enhancing CVB3 replication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-88
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Myocarditis
  • Viral replication
  • Inflammation
  • Liver X receptors
  • Lipids


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