Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Over the past two decades, inflammation has emerged as a key pathophysiological process during myocardial infarction. It develops consecutively to the activation of innate immune defense mechanisms, in response to the release of endogenous molecules by necrotic cells and the extracellular matrix. These danger signals are sensed by cellular receptors normally involved in antimicrobial defenses, including toll-like receptors and a subset of NOD-like receptors, which promote intracellular signaling dependent on nuclear factor kappaB and on the formation of the inflammasome. These mechanisms stimulate the expression of multiple inflammatory mediators and growth factors, sequentially inducing the recruitment of inflammatory cells, the clearance of injured tissue, angiogenesis, and the proliferation of fibroblasts, eventually resulting in scar formation and infarct healing. Dysregulation of these responses may result in continued cardiomyocyte loss, fibrosis beyond the limits of the infarcted area, reactive hypertrophy and chamber dilatation, a process termed adverse cardiac remodeling, leading to functional compromise and heart failure. This review presents the current state of knowledge on the process of immune activation within the infarcted myocardium and its consequences.