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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2003 April;44(2):237-42

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Cytokine expression in circulating T lymphocytes from patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy

Profumo E. 1, Siracusano A. 1, Ortona E. 1, Margutti P. 1, Carra A. 2, Costanzo A. 2, Capoano R. 2, Salvati B. 2, Riganò R. 1

1 Department of Immunology, “Istituto Superiore di Sanità”, Rome, Italy 2 Vascular Unit, Department of Surgical Sciences, “La Sapienza” University, Rome, Italy


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Aim. We inves­ti­gated a pos­sible rela­tion­ship of cyto­kine expres­sion and phe­no­type fea­tures of cir­cu­lating T lym­pho­cytes ­with the his­to­log­ical ­type of ath­e­ros­cle­rotic ­plaque ­removed ­during ­carotid endar­te­rec­tomy.
­Methods. Periph­eral ­blood sam­ples ­were ­taken ­from 20 ­patients ­with ­carotid ath­ero­scler­osis and ­from 8 ­healthy ­blood ­donors. ­Patients ­were ­divided ­into 2 ­groups ­according to the his­to­log­ical ­type of ­their ath­e­ros­cle­rotic ­plaques (­types V and VI). Expres­sion of intra­cel­lular ­tumor ­necrosis ­factor (TNF)-α, inter­feron (IFN)-γ, inter­leukin-4 (IL-4), and of sur­face anti­gens (CD4, CD8, CD45RA, CD45RO, T ­cell ­receptor (TCR) α/β, TCR γ/δ) in cir­cu­lating T lym­pho­cytes was deter­mined by 3-­colour cytof­lu­or­i­metric anal­ysis.
­Results. The per­centage of T lym­pho­cytes ­primed for TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-4 was ­higher in ­blood sam­ples ­from ­patients ­than ­from ­healthy sub­jects; the dif­fer­ence was sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant for TNF-α-pro­ducing ­cells (p=0.01). In ­patients, the per­centage of TNF-α-pro­ducing ­cells was sig­nif­i­cantly ­higher in the CD4+ ­subset ­than in the CD8+ ­subset (p=10-4). The per­centage of TNF-α-, IFN-γ- and IL-4-­primed ­cells was ­higher in ­patients ­with ­type VI ­plaques (com­pli­cated ­lesions) ­than in ­patients ­with ­type V ­plaques (­less com­pli­cated ­lesions). The dif­fer­ence was sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant for TNF-α-­primed ­cells (p=0.05). No sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences ­were ­found in T ­cell phe­no­type fea­tures ­among ­patients or ­between ­patients and ­healthy sub­jects.
Con­clu­sion. Our ­results sug­gest a rela­tion­ship ­between the per­centage of cir­cu­lating T lym­pho­cytes ­expressing TNF-α and pos­sibly IFN-γ and IL-4 and the his­to­log­ical ­type of ath­e­ros­cle­rotic ­plaque in ­patients ­with ­carotid ­artery dis­ease.

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