Indexed on: 13 Mar '15Published on: 13 Mar '15Published in: Expert review of clinical immunology
The failing human heart is a bustling network of intra- and inter-cellular signals and related processes attempting to coordinate a repair mechanism for the injured or diseased myocardium. While our understanding of signaling by mode of cytokines is well understood on a systemic level, we are only now coming to elucidate the role of cytokines in cardiac self-regulation. An increasing number of studies are showing now that cardiomyocytes themselves have not only the ability but also the mandate to produce signals, and play direct roles in how these signals are interpreted. One of the families of cytokines employed by distressed cardiac tissue are chemokines. By regulating the movement of pro-inflammatory cell types to sites of injury, we see now how the myocardium responds to stress. Herein we review the participation of these inflammatory mediators and explore the delicate balance between their protective roles and damaging functions.