Heart muscle inflammation after corona vaccination - researchers find possible cause
Created: 09/30/2022 05:26
By: Victoria Krumbeck
Cases of heart muscle inflammation after a corona vaccination are becoming known again and again.
Researchers have now found clues as to the cause.
Homburg - The pandemic is not over yet and corona vaccines are still being adapted.
After vaccination with mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna, inflammation of the heart muscle - also known as myocarditis - has occurred in rare cases.
One study found that the side effect was more common in men under 30 than in women under 30.
Researchers have now found clues as to the cause that can lead to heart muscle inflammation after a corona vaccination.
Corona vaccination: Researchers find the cause of heart muscle inflammation
The probability of getting myocarditis after a corona vaccination is extremely low.
Still, the risk is there.
A research team from Germany and Israel has gained new insights into the cause, as the Saarland University Hospital (UKS) in Homburg announced.
The university was involved in the research and published the results as an abstract in the
New England Journal of Medicine.
In the current UKS study, researchers examined blood samples from patients aged 14 to 79 years.
The physicians had the findings of the myocardium biopsy from most of the patients, which proved an inflammation of the myocardium.
The researchers were able to detect autoantibodies against the body’s central anti-inflammatory agent (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist) in male adolescents and young men in particular.
Interleukin-1 is an important messenger substance that mobilizes and alarms the immune system in the event of infections.
Among other things, it causes people to get fever.
Researchers have found new clues as to the cause of heart muscle inflammation after a corona vaccination.
(Iconic image) © Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/picture alliance
However, if too much interleukin-1 is released, inflammatory diseases can develop.
"Especially with regard to inflammation of the pericardium, heart muscle and blood vessels, we already know how important interleukin-1 is.
However, our immune system normally regulates itself and highly potent interleukins in particular have natural opponents who can slow down excessive inflammatory reactions," explained Dr.
Christoph Kessel, head of the "Translational Inflammation Research" working group in the Department of Pediatric Rheumatology and Immunology at the University Hospital in Münster.
The immune system mistakenly forms antibodies - inflammation occurs more easily
Such a natural antagonist is the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist.
The opponent can then block the docking sites for the actual interleukin-1 on the surface of the cell.
You can think of the antagonist as a plug on the cell that shuts off the signaling pathways.
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“Patients with myocarditis usually have an atypical form with additional phosphorylation of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist.
The immune system then evaluates this as a foreign structure and mistakenly forms antibodies against it.
This neutralizes the body's own anti-inflammatory agent, which is so important, and thus promotes the effect of pro-inflammatory messenger substances," explains Dr.
Lorenz Thurner from UKS.
Inflammation of the heart muscle after corona vaccination: Greater benefit of mRNA vaccination
The researchers came across their results by accident.
In severe cases of Covid-19, the detected autoantibodies intercept the interleukin-1 receptor antagonists.
The anti-inflammatory effect of the antagonists is suppressed and inflammation of the heart muscle is more likely.
The doctors also showed this process in heart muscle inflammation that occurred after a corona vaccination.
The researchers emphasize that the benefit of the mRNA vaccination and the protection from a severe corona infection outweighs the risk of mild myocarditis.
Heart muscle inflammation should be taken seriously.
It can not only occur as a side effect after a corona vaccination - delayed diseases and coronavirus infections that have not been properly cured can also lead to myocarditis.
Anyone who has survived the inflammation should not immediately throw themselves into the stressful everyday life and avoid heavy physical exertion.
The American Association of Cardiologists published a letter telling sufferers when they can start exercising again.