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1.  CD8+ T cell activation predominate early immune responses to hypercholesterolemia in Apoe-/- mice 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:58.
It is well established that adaptive immune responses induced by hypercholesterolemia play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, but the pathways involved remain to be fully characterized. In the present study we assessed immune responses to hypercholesterolemia induced by feeding Apoe-/- mice a high-fat diet for 4 or 8 weeks.
The primary immune response in lymph nodes draining the aortic root was an increased expression of interferon (IFN)-γ in CD8+CD28+ T cells, while an activation of IFN-γ expression in CD4+ T cells was observed only after 8 weeks of high-fat diet. Contrarily, spleen CD4+ T cells responded with a higher expression of IL-10. Spleen CD8+ T cells expressed both IFN-γ and IL-10 and showed enhanced proliferation when exposed to Concanavalin A. Plasma levels of IgG and IgM against oxidized LDL did not change, but the level of apolipoprotein B/IgM immune complexes was increased.
Hypercholesterolemia leads to unopposed activation of Th1 immune responses in lymph nodes draining atherosclerotic lesions, whereas Th1 activation in the spleen is balanced by a concomitant activation of Th2 cells. The activation of CD8+ T cells implies that hypercholesterolemia is associated with formation of cell autoantigens.
PMCID: PMC3003229  PMID: 21126329
2.  Interleukin-1beta and tumour necrosis factor-alpha impede neutral lipid turnover in macrophage-derived foam cells 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:70.
Pro-inflammatory cytokines can affect intracellular lipid metabolism. A variety of effects have been described for different cell types; hepatocyte lipid turnover pathways are inhibited during inflammation, whereas interleukin-1β (IL-1β) reduces intracellular cholesterol levels in fibroblasts. Levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) are up-regulated at sites of formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Plaque formation is though to begin with infiltration of monocytes to the intimal layer of the vascular wall, followed by differentiation to macrophages and macrophage uptake of modified lipoproteins, resulting in accumulation of intracellular lipids. The lipid-filled cells are referred to as macrophage foam cells, a key feature of atherosclerotic plaques. We have investigated the effects of IL-1β and TNF-α on macrophage foam cells in order to assess whether presence of the pro-inflammatory cytokines improves or aggravates macrophage foam cell formation by affecting lipid accumulation and lipid turn-over in the cells.
Differentiated primary human macrophages or THP-1 cells were lipid loaded by uptake of aggregated low density lipoproteins (AgLDL) or very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), and then incubated with IL-1β (0 – 5000 pg/ml) in lipoprotein-free media for 24 h. Cells incubated in absence of cytokine utilized accumulated neutral lipids, in particular triglycerides. Addition of exogenous IL-1β resulted in a dose-dependent retention of intracellular cholesterol and triglycerides. Exchanging IL-1β with TNF-α gave a similar response. Analysis of fatty acid efflux and intracellular fatty acid activation revealed a pattern of decreased lipid utilization in cytokine-stimulated cells.
IL-1β and TNF-α enhance macrophage foam cell formation, in part by inhibition of macrophage intracellular lipid catabolism. If present in vivo, these mechanisms will further augment the pro-atherogenic properties of the two cytokines.
PMCID: PMC2596083  PMID: 19032770
3.  Decreased inducibility of TNF expression in lipid-loaded macrophages 
BMC Immunology  2002;3:13.
Inflammation and immune responses are considered to be very important in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Lipid accumulation in macrophages of the arterial intima is a characteristic feature of atherosclerosis which can influence the inflammatory potential of macrophages. We studied the effects of lipid loading on the regulation of TNF expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages.
In macrophages incubated with acetylated low density lipoprotein (ac-LDL) for 2 days, mRNA expression of TNF in cells stimulated with TNF decreased by 75%. In cell cultures stimulated over night with IL-1β, lipid loading decreased secretion of TNF into culture medium by 48%. These results suggest that lipid accumulation in macrophages makes them less responsive to inflammatory stimuli. Decreased basal activity and inducibility of transcription factor AP-1 was observed in lipid-loaded cells, suggesting a mechanism for the suppression of cytokine expression. NF-κB binding activity and inducibility were only marginally affected by ac-LDL. LDL and ac-LDL did not activate PPARγ. In contrast, oxidized LDL stimulated AP-1 and PPARγ but inhibited NF-κB, indicating that the effects of lipid loading with ac-LDL were not due to oxidation of lipids.
Accumulation of lipid, mainly cholesterol, results in down-regulation of TNF expression in macrophages. Since monocytes are known to be activated by cell adhesion, these results suggest that foam cells in atherosclerotic plaques may contribute less potently to an inflammatory reaction than newly arrived monocytes/macrophages.
PMCID: PMC130030  PMID: 12366867

Results 1-3 (3)