Immunotherapy With Tolerogenic Apolipoprotein B-100–Loaded Dendritic Cells Attenuates Atherosclerosis in Hypercholesterolemic Mice
Background—Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by a massive intimal accumulation of low-density lipoprotein that triggers chronic vascular inflammation with an autoimmune response to low-density lipoprotein components.
Methods and Results—To dampen the inflammatory component of atherosclerosis, we injected hypercholesterolemic huB100tg×Ldlr−/− mice (mice transgenic for human apolipoprotein B100 [ApoB100] and deficient for the low-density lipoprotein receptor) intravenously with dendritic cells (DCs) that had been pulsed with the low-density lipoprotein protein ApoB100 in combination with the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10. DCs treated with ApoB100 and interleukin-10 reduced proliferation of effector T cells, inhibited production of interferon-γ, and increased de novo generation of regulatory T cells in vitro. Spleen cells from mice treated with DCs plus ApoB100 plus interleukin-10 showed diminished proliferative responses to ApoB100 and significantly dampened T-helper 1 and 2 immunity to ApoB100. Spleen CD4+ T cells from these mice suppressed activation of ApoB100-reactive T cells in a manner characteristic of regulatory T cells, and mRNA analysis of lymphoid organs showed induction of transcripts characteristic of these cells. Treatment of huB100tg×Ldlr−/− mice with ApoB100-pulsed tolerogenic DCs led to a significant (70%) reduction of atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta, with decreased CD4+ T-cell infiltration and signs of reduced systemic inflammation.
Conclusions—Tolerogenic DCs pulsed with ApoB100 reduced the autoimmune response against low-density lipoprotein and may represent a novel possibility for treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.
- Received June 16, 2010.
- Accepted January 7, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.