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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,632
Online ISSN 1827-191X
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.