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Depletion of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells promotes hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis


Klingenberg, Roland; Gerdes, Norbert; Badeau, Robert M; Gisterå, Anton; Strodthoff, Daniela; Ketelhuth, Daniel F J; Lundberg, Anna M; Rudling, Mats; Nilsson, Stefan K; Olivecrona, Gunilla; Zoller, Stefan; Lohmann, Christine; Lüscher, Thomas F; Jauhiainen, Matti; Sparwasser, Tim; Hansson, Göran K (2013). Depletion of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells promotes hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(3):1332-1334.

Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease promoted by hyperlipidemia. Several studies support FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) as inhibitors of atherosclerosis; however, the mechanism underlying this protection remains elusive. To define the role of FOXP3-expressing Tregs in atherosclerosis, we used the DEREG mouse, which expresses the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor under control of the Treg-specific Foxp3 promoter, allowing for specific ablation of FOXP3+ Tregs. Lethally irradiated, atherosclerosis-prone, low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr-/-) mice received DEREG bone marrow and were injected with DT to eliminate FOXP3+ Tregs. Depletion of Tregs caused a 2.1-fold increase in atherosclerosis without a concomitant increase in vascular inflammation. These mice also exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in plasma cholesterol and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile with increased levels of VLDL. Clearance of VLDL and chylomicron remnants was hampered, leading to accumulation of cholesterol-rich particles in the circulation. Functional and protein analyses complemented by gene expression array identified reduced protein expression of sortilin-1 in liver and increased plasma enzyme activity of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and phospholipid transfer protein as mediators of the altered lipid phenotype. These results demonstrate that FOXP3+ Tregs inhibit atherosclerosis by modulating lipoprotein metabolism.

Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease promoted by hyperlipidemia. Several studies support FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) as inhibitors of atherosclerosis; however, the mechanism underlying this protection remains elusive. To define the role of FOXP3-expressing Tregs in atherosclerosis, we used the DEREG mouse, which expresses the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor under control of the Treg-specific Foxp3 promoter, allowing for specific ablation of FOXP3+ Tregs. Lethally irradiated, atherosclerosis-prone, low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr-/-) mice received DEREG bone marrow and were injected with DT to eliminate FOXP3+ Tregs. Depletion of Tregs caused a 2.1-fold increase in atherosclerosis without a concomitant increase in vascular inflammation. These mice also exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in plasma cholesterol and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile with increased levels of VLDL. Clearance of VLDL and chylomicron remnants was hampered, leading to accumulation of cholesterol-rich particles in the circulation. Functional and protein analyses complemented by gene expression array identified reduced protein expression of sortilin-1 in liver and increased plasma enzyme activity of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and phospholipid transfer protein as mediators of the altered lipid phenotype. These results demonstrate that FOXP3+ Tregs inhibit atherosclerosis by modulating lipoprotein metabolism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Cardiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:28 Mar 2013 10:07
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:31
Publisher:American Society for Clinical Investigation
ISSN:0021-9738
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI63891
PubMed ID:23426179

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