T cells and cytokines in atherogenesis
ABSTRACT Recent findings suggest that inflammation plays a key role in atherosclerosis from the earliest stage of lesion initiation, to the ultimate complication of thrombosis. In patients who died because of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), coronary atherosclerotic plaques are characterized by the presence of macrophages, and to a lesser extent T-lymphocytes, at the immediate site of either plaque rupture or superficial erosion. The rupture-related inflammatory cells are activated, indicating ongoing inflammation. ACS patients are also characterized by activated circulating lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils, and by increased concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines and of the highly sensitive acute phase reactant C-reactive protein. Interestingly, an unusual subset of T cells, CD4+ CD28null T cells, involved in vascular complication of rheumatoid arthritis because of their functional profile predisposing for vascular injury, are expanded in the peripheral blood and infiltrate the coronary lesions of ACS patients. The presence of activated T lymphocytes implies antigenic stimulation, but the nature of such antigen(s) remains to be investigated. Several autoantigens expressed in the atherosclerotic plaque, including oxidized LDL and heat shock proteins, and infectious agents are able to elicit an immune response. The inflammatory component is not localized to the 'culprit' plaque, but it is diffused to the entire coronary vascular bed, and involves also the myocardium.
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ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease, which causes synovial damage. Persistence of lymphocyte infiltrates in the rheumatoid synovium has been attributed to abnormal apoptosis. While not comprehensively investigated, perturbations in peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL) apoptosis may also be involved in perpetuation of autoimmune processes in RA. We investigated total, CD4+ and CD19+ PBL apoptosis in our study cohort by monitoring the translocation of phosphatidylserine using the Annexin-V assay. To examine the role of death receptor mediated apoptosis as well as activation-induced-cell-death (AICD), PBLs were labeled with CD95/Fas and CD69 markers and enumerated by flow cytometry. Proteolytic activity of initiator and executioner caspases was determined by luminometry. DNA fragmentation assays were used to examine whether apoptotic signals were transduced to the nucleus. Quantitative PCR arrays were used to investigate apoptotic pathways associated with RA-PBLs. Since heat-shock-protein-70 (HSP70) is an inducible protein which modulates apoptotic signals, we determined HSP70 levels by intra-cellular flow cytometry and western blots. The RA-PBLs showed signs of elevated apoptosis whilst in circulation. These include increases in the loss of plasma membrane asymmetry, indicated by increased externalization of phosphatidylserine (especially in B-lymphocytes). RA-PBLs showed a bias to CD95/Fas mediated apoptotic pathways, but low levels of the CD69 marker suggested that this was not associated with immune activation. Although downstream markers of apoptosis such as caspase-3/7 activity, were increased, no DNA fragmentation was observed in RA-PBLs. Interestingly, elevated levels of apoptosis did not correlate with absolute lymphocyte counts in RA patients. Levels of HSP70 were highly elevated in RA-PBLs compared to controls. The results suggest that while apoptosis may be initiated in RA-PBLs, they may lack commitment to fully executing the apoptotic program. This may be related to inhibition on apoptotic transduction by HSP70. This study provides evidence that abnormalities in RA-PBLs apoptosis may occur whilst still in circulation and may contribute to pathogenesis of the disease.Journal of Inflammation 11/2011; 8(1):30. DOI:10.1186/1476-9255-8-30 · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Far from being merely a passive cholesterol accumulation within the arterial wall, the development of atherosclerosis is currently known to imply both inflammation and immune effector mechanisms. Adaptive immunity has been implicated in the process of disease initiation and progression interwined with traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Although the body of knowledge regarding the correlation between atherosclerosis and immunity in humans is growing rapidly, a relevant proportion of it derives from studies carried out in animal models of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, while the mouse is a well-suited model, the results obtained therein are not fully transferrable to the human setting due to intrinsic genomic and environmental differences. In the present review, we will discuss mainly human findings, obtained either by examination of post-mortem and surgical atherosclerotic material or through the analysis of the immunological profile of peripheral blood cells. In particular, we will discuss the findings supporting a pro-atherogenic role of T-cell subsets, such as effector memory T cells or the potential protective function of regulatory T cells. Recent studies suggest that traditional T cells-driven B2 cell response appears to be atherogenic, while innate B1 cells appear to exert a protective action through the secretion of naturally occurring antibodies. The insights in the immune pathogenesis of atherosclerosis can provide new targets in the quest for novel therapeutic targets to abate CVD morbidity and mortality.Clinical & Experimental Immunology 10/2014; 179(2). DOI:10.1111/cei.12477 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Traditional risk factors can be used to identify individuals at high risk for developing CVD and are generally associated with the extent of atherosclerosis; however, substantial numbers of individuals at low or intermediate risk still develop atherosclerosis. A case-control study was performed using microarray gene expression profiling of peripheral blood from 119 healthy women in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort aged 50 or above. All participants had low (<10%) to intermediate (10% to 20%) predicted Framingham risk; cases (N = 48) had coronary artery calcium (CAC) score >100 and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) >1.0 mm, whereas controls (N = 71) had CAC<10 and IMT <0.65 mm. We identified two major expression profiles significantly associated with significant atherosclerosis (odds ratio 4.85; P<0.001); among those with Framingham risk score <10%, the odds ratio was 5.30 (P<0.001). Ontology analysis of the gene signature reveals activation of a major innate immune pathway, toll-like receptors and IL-1R signaling, in individuals with significant atherosclerosis. Gene expression profiles of peripheral blood may be a useful tool to identify individuals with significant burden of atherosclerosis, even among those with low predicted risk by clinical factors. Furthermore, our data suggest an intimate connection between atherosclerosis and the innate immune system and inflammation via TLR signaling in lower risk individuals.PLoS ONE 06/2011; 6(6):e21067. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0021067 · 3.53 Impact Factor