Gamma Delta T Cells Mediate Angiotensin II-Induced Hypertension and Vascular Injury
Background—Innate antigen-presenting cells and adaptive immune T cells have been implicated in the development of hypertension. However, the T-lymphocyte subsets involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension remain unclear. A small subset of "innate-like" T cells expressing the γδ T cell receptor (TCR) rather than the αβ TCR could play a role in the initiation of the immune response in hypertension. We aimed to determine whether angiotensin (Ang) II caused kinetic changes in γδ T cells, whether deficiency in γδ T cells blunted Ang II-induced hypertension, vascular injury and T-cell activation, and whether γδ T cells are associated with human hypertension.
Methods—Male C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) and Tcrδ-/- mice, which are devoid of γδ T cells, or WT mice injected IP with control isotype IgG or γδ T cell-depleting antibodies, were infused or not with Ang II for 3, 7 or 14 days. T cell profiling was determined by flow cytometry, systolic blood pressure (SBP) by telemetry and mesentery artery endothelial function by pressurized myography. TCR γ constant region gene expression levels and clinical data of a whole blood gene expression microarray study including normotensive and hypertensive subjects were used to demonstrate an association between γδ T cells and SBP.
Results—Seven- and 14-day Ang II infusion increased γδ T cell numbers and activation in the spleen of WT mice (P<0.05). Fourteen days of Ang II infusion increased SBP (P<0.01) and decreased mesenteric artery endothelial function (P<0.01) in WT mice, both of which were abrogated in Tcrδ-/- mice (P<0.01). Anti-TCR γδ antibody-induced γδ T cell depletion blunted Ang II-induced SBP rise and endothelial dysfunction (P<0.05), compared to isotype antibody-treated Ang II-infused mice. Ang II-induced T cell activation in the spleen and perivascular adipose tissue was blunted in Tcrδ-/- mice (P<0.01). In humans, the association between SBP and γδ T cells was demonstrated by a multiple linear regression model integrating whole blood TCR γ constant region gene expression levels, and age and sex (R2=0.12, P<1x10-6).
Conclusions—γδ T cells mediate Ang II-induced SBP elevation, vascular injury and T-cell activation in mice. γδ T cells might contribute to development of hypertension in humans.
- Received December 22, 2016.
- Revision received March 1, 2017.
- Accepted March 9, 2017.