ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play an important role in the regulation of T cell-mediated immune responses through suppression of T cell proliferation and cytokine production. In atherosclerosis, a chronic autoimmune-like disease, an imbalance between pro-inflammatory cells (Th1/Th2) and anti-inflammatory cells (Tregs) exists. Therefore, increased Treg numbers may be beneficial for patients suffering from atherosclerosis. In the present study, we determined the effect of a vast expansion of Tregs on the initiation and regression of well-established lesions.
For in vivo Treg expansion, LDL receptor deficient (LDLr(-/-)) mice received repeated intraperitoneal injections of a complex of IL-2 and anti-IL-2 mAb. This resulted in a 10-fold increase in CD4(+)CD25(hi)Foxp3(+) T cells, which potently suppressed effector T cells ex vivo. During initial atherosclerosis, IL-2 complex treatment of LDLr(-/-) mice fed a Western-type diet reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation by 39%. The effect on pre-existing lesions was assessed by combining IL-2 complex treatment with a vigorous lowering of blood lipid levels in LDLr(-/-) mice. This did not induce regression of atherosclerosis, but significantly enhanced lesion stability.
Our data show differential roles for Tregs during atherosclerosis: Tregs suppress inflammatory responses and attenuate initial atherosclerosis development, while during regression Tregs can improve stabilization of the atherosclerotic lesions.
Atherosclerosis 05/2011; 218(1):53-60. · 3.79 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells are crucial for immune homeostasis and an impaired regulatory T cell function results in many pathological conditions. Regulatory T cells have already been described to be protective in atherosclerosis. However the exact contribution of Foxp3-expressing natural regulatory T cells in atherosclerosis has not been elucidated yet.
In this study we vaccinated LDL receptor deficient mice with dendritic cells which are transfected with Foxp3 encoding mRNA and studied the effect on initial atherosclerosis. Vaccination against Foxp3 resulted in a reduction of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells in several organs and in an increase in initial atherosclerotic lesion formation. Furthermore we observed an increase in plaque cellularity and increased T cell proliferation in the Foxp3 vaccinated mice.
We further establish the protective role of Tregs in atherosclerosis. The results illustrate the important role for Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells in atherosclerosis, thereby providing a potential opportunity for therapeutic intervention against this disease.
Atherosclerosis 08/2009; 209(1):74-80. · 3.79 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: HSP60-specific T cells contribute to the development of the immune responses in atherosclerosis. This can be dampened by regulatory T cells activated via oral tolerance induction, and we explored the effect of oral tolerance induction to HSP60 and the peptide HSP60 (253 to 268) on atherosclerosis.
HSP60 and HSP60 (253 to 268) were administered orally to LDLr(-/-) mice before induction of atherosclerosis and resulted in a significant 80% reduction in plaque size in the carotid arteries and in a 27% reduction in plaque size at the aortic root. Reduction in plaque size correlated with an increase in CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells in several organs and in an increased expression of Foxp3, CD25, and CTLA-4 in atherosclerotic lesions of HSP60-treated mice. The production of interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta by lymph node cells in response to HSP60 was observed after tolerance induction.
Oral tolerance induction to HSP60 and a small HSP60-peptide leads to an increase in the number of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells, resulting in a decrease in plaque size as a consequence of increased production of IL-10 and TGF-beta. We conclude that these beneficial results of oral tolerance induction to HSP60 and HSP60 (253 to 268) may provide new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 01/2008; 27(12):2677-83. · 6.37 Impact Factor