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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33932. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033932. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

TAP1-deficiency does not alter atherosclerosis development in Apoe-/- mice.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Skane University Hospital Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

Abstract

Antigen presenting cells (APC) have the ability to present both extra-cellular and intra-cellular antigens via MHC class I molecules to CD8(+) T cells. The cross presentation of extra-cellular antigens is reduced in mice with deficient Antigen Peptide Transporter 1 (TAP1)-dependent MHC class I antigen presentation, and these mice are characterized by a diminished CD8(+) T cell population. We have recently reported an increased activation of CD8(+) T cells in hypercholesterolemic Apoe(-/-) mice. Therefore, this study included TAP1-deficient Apoe(-/-) mice (Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-)) to test the atherogenicity of CD8(+) T cells and TAP1-dependent cross presentation in a hypercholesterolemic environment. As expected the CD8(+) T cell numbers were low in Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-) mice in comparison to Apoe(-/-) mice, constituting ~1% of the lymphocyte population. In spite of this there were no differences in the extent of atherosclerosis as assessed by en face Oil Red O staining of the aorta and cross-sections of the aortic root between Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-) and Apoe(-/-) mice. Moreover, no differences were detected in lesion infiltration of macrophages or CD3(+) T cells in Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-) compared to Apoe(-/-) mice. The CD3(+)CD4(+) T cell fraction was increased in Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-) mice, suggesting a compensation for the decreased CD8(+) T cell population. Interestingly, the fraction of CD8(+) effector memory T cells was increased but this appeared to have little impact on the atherosclerosis development.In conclusion, Apoe(-/-)Tap1(-/-) mice develop atherosclerosis equal to Apoe(-/-) mice, indicating a minor role for CD8(+) T cells and TAP1-dependent antigen presentation in the disease process.

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