Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

The CD4(+) AT2R(+) T cell subpopulation improves post-infarction remodelling and restores cardiac function.

PMID 25991381


Myocardial infarction (MI) is a major condition causing heart failure (HF). After MI, the renin angiotensin system (RAS) and its signalling octapeptide angiotensin II (Ang II) interferes with cardiac injury/repair via the AT1 and AT2 receptors (AT1R, AT2R). Our study aimed at deciphering the mechanisms underlying the link between RAS and cellular components of the immune response relying on a rodent model of HF as well as HF patients. Flow cytometric analyses showed an increase in the expression of CD4(+) AT2R(+) cells in the rat heart and spleen post-infarction, but a reduction in the peripheral blood. The latter was also observed in HF patients. The frequency of rat CD4(+) AT2R(+) T cells in circulating blood, post-infarcted heart and spleen represented 3.8 ± 0.4%, 23.2 ± 2.7% and 22.6 ± 2.6% of the CD4(+) cells. CD4(+) AT2R(+) T cells within blood CD4(+) T cells were reduced from 2.6 ± 0.2% in healthy controls to 1.7 ± 0.4% in patients. Moreover, we characterized CD4(+) AT2R(+) T cells which expressed regulatory FoxP3, secreted interleukin-10 and other inflammatory-related cytokines. Furthermore, intramyocardial injection of MI-induced splenic CD4(+) AT2R(+) T cells into recipient rats with MI led to reduced infarct size and improved cardiac performance. We defined CD4(+) AT2R(+) cells as a T cell subset improving heart function post-MI corresponding with reduced infarction size in a rat MI-model. Our results indicate CD4(+) AT2R(+) cells as a promising population for regenerative therapy, via myocardial transplantation, pharmacological AT2R activation or a combination thereof.