Cardiovascular research

Regulatory T cells in human and angiotensin II-induced mouse abdominal aortic aneurysms.

PMID 25824145


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) protect mice from angiotensin II (Ang-II)-induced abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This study tested whether AAA patients are Treg-insufficient and the Treg molecular mechanisms that control AAA pathogenesis. ELISA determined the Foxp3 concentration in blood cell lysates from 485 AAA patients and 204 age- and sex-matched controls. AAA patients exhibited lower blood cell Foxp3 expression than controls (P < 0.0001). Pearson's correlation test demonstrated a significant but negative correlation between Foxp3 and AAA annual expansion rate before (r = -0.147, P = 0.007) and after (r = -0.153, P = 0.006) adjustment for AAA risk factors. AAA in apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe(-/-)) mice that received different doses of Ang-II exhibited a negative correlation of lesion Foxp3(+) Treg numbers with AAA size (r = -0.883, P < 0.0001). Adoptive transfer of Tregs from wild-type (WT) and IL10-deficient (Il10(-/-)) mice increased AAA lesion Treg content, but only WT mice Tregs reduced AAA size, AAA incidence, blood pressure, lesion macrophage and CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell accumulation, and angiogenesis with concurrent increase of lesion collagen content. Both AAA lesion immunostaining and plasma ELISA demonstrated that adoptive transfer of WT Tregs, but not Il10(-/-) Tregs, reduced the expression of MCP-1. In vitro cell culture and aortic ring assay demonstrated that only Tregs from WT mice, but not those from Il10(-/-) mice, reduced macrophage MCP-1 secretion, macrophage and vascular cell protease expression and activity, and aortic ring microvessel formation. This study supports a protective role of Tregs in human and experimental AAA by releasing IL10 to suppress inflammatory cell chemotaxis, arterial wall remodelling, and angiogenesis.