Absence of SPARC in mice resulted in increased cardiac inflammation and mortality, and reduced cardiac systolic function upon coxsackievirus-B3 induced myocarditis. Intra-vital microscopic imaging of the microvasculature of the cremaster muscle combined with electron microscopic imaging of the microvasculature of the cardiac muscle uncovered the significance of SPARC in maintaining endothelial glycocalyx integrity and subsequent barrier properties to stop inflammation. Moreover, systemic administration of recombinant SPARC restored the endothelial glycocalyx and consequently reversed the increase in inflammation and mortality observed in SPARC KO mice in response to viral exposure. Reducing the glycocalyx in vivo by systemic administration of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that degrades the endothelial glycocalyx, mimicked the barrier defects found in SPARC KO mice, which could be restored by subsequent administration of recombinant SPARC.
In conclusion, the secreted glycoprotein SPARC protects against adverse cardiac inflammation and mortality by improving the glycocalyx function and resulting endothelial barrier function during viral myocarditis.
- endothelial glycocalyx
- viral myocarditis
- extracellular matrix