CD1 expression in human atherosclerosis: A potential mechanism for T cell activation by foam cells

Agustín Melián, Yong Jian Geng, Galina K. Sukhova, Peter Libby, Steven A. Porcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atherosclerotic plaques are chronic inflammatory lesions composed of dysfunctional endothelium, smooth muscle cells, lipid-laden macrophages, and T lymphocytes. This study analyzed atherosclerotic tissue specimens for expression of CD1 molecules, a family of cell surface proteins that present lipid antigens to T cells, and examined the possibility that CD1+ lipid-laden macrophages might present antigen to T cells. Immunohistochemical studies using a panel of specific monoclonal antibodies demonstrated expression of each of the four previously characterized human CD1 proteins (CD1a, -b, -c, and -d) in atherosclerotic plaques. Expression of CD1 was not observed in normal arterial specimens and appeared to be restricted to the CD68+ lipid- laden foam cells of atherosclerotic lesions. CD1 molecules colocalized in areas of the arterial wall that also contained abundant T lymphocytes, suggesting potential interactions between CD1+ cells and plaque-infiltrating lymphocytes in situ. Using CD1-expressing foam cells derived from macrophages in vitro, we demonstrated the ability of such cells to present lipid antigens to CD1 restricted T cells. Given the abundant T cells, CD1+ macrophages, and lipid accumulation in atherosclerotic plaques, we propose a potential role for lipid antigen presentation by CD1 proteins in the generation of the inflammatory component of these lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-786
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Volume155
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes

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Foam Cells
Atherosclerosis
T-Lymphocytes
Lipids
Atherosclerotic Plaques
Macrophages
CD1 Antigens
Antigens
Antigen Presentation
Smooth Muscle Myocytes
Endothelium
Membrane Proteins
Proteins
Monoclonal Antibodies
Lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

CD1 expression in human atherosclerosis : A potential mechanism for T cell activation by foam cells. / Melián, Agustín; Geng, Yong Jian; Sukhova, Galina K.; Libby, Peter; Porcelli, Steven A.

In: American Journal of Pathology, Vol. 155, No. 3, 09.1999, p. 775-786.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Melián, Agustín ; Geng, Yong Jian ; Sukhova, Galina K. ; Libby, Peter ; Porcelli, Steven A. / CD1 expression in human atherosclerosis : A potential mechanism for T cell activation by foam cells. In: American Journal of Pathology. 1999 ; Vol. 155, No. 3. pp. 775-786.
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