The expression of phospholipase D (PLD) in the hearts of rats with experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) was studied to elucidate the functional role of PLD in the pathogenesis of EAM. Western blot analysis showed that the level of the PLDI isoform was significantly increased in the hearts of rats with EAM on days 14, 17 and 21 postimmunization (pi) (P < 0.01; control vs EAM at 14 pi, 17 pi and 21 pi). The phenotypes of cells exhibiting increased PLD1 expression were primarily inflammatory cells, including ED1 positive macrophages, in the inflammatory EAM lesions. Some cardiomyocytes also showed increased PLD1 immunoreaction in and around EAM lesions. Some PLD1-positive cells were also positive for proliferating cell nuclear antigen in some cardiomyocytes or terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling in some macrophages, suggesting that PLD1 positive cells have a capacity for proliferation or apoptosis depending on cell types in the target organ. Thus, it is postulated that increased expression of PLD1 in EAM may support an early inflammatory response in proliferating inflammatory cells, and its expression in cardiomyocytes may help them to survive by activation of survival factors in hearts with EAM.
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