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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES VASCULAR SECTION
The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2003 April;44(2):237-42
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
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.