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J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 May 20;2(3):e000117. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000117.

T-helper type 1 bias in healthy people is associated with cytomegalovirus serology and atherosclerosis: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05446, USA. russell.tracy@uvm.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although T-helper type 1 (Th1) cells are considered important in atherosclerosis, the relationships between Th1 and Th2 cells and atherosclerosis have not been examined in population-based studies.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We measured Th cells as a percentage of lymphocytes by flow cytometry using CD4 staining (%CD4) in 917 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. We also measured interferon gamma-positive and interleukin-4-positive CD4(+) cells, representing Th1 and Th2 subpopulations (%Th1 and %Th2), respectively. We found that %CD4 was 1.5% lower per 10 years of age (P<0.0001). Whites had higher %CD4 and lower %Th1 and %Th2 values than other race/ethnic groups. Body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure were associated with %CD4, but no traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors were associated with %Th1 or %Th2. In multivariable models, the major independent variable associated with %Th1 was cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody titer, with minor contributions from age, sex, seasonality, and interleukin-6. In models with coronary artery calcification level as the outcome, significant independent variables included age, sex, smoking status, and %Th1 (β=0.25; P ≤ 0.01). Both %Th1 and %Th2 were associated with common carotid intimal media thickness (β=0.02 and -0.02, respectively; both P<0.05), as were age, sex, race/ethnicity, blood pressure, and BMI.

CONCLUSIONS:

Th1 bias is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in a multiethnic population. The main Th1 correlate was CMV infectious burden. These findings are consistent with a role of Th1 cells in atherosclerosis and suggest the importance of prospective studies of T-helper cell biasing in CVD.

KEYWORDS:

T‐helper cell; atherosclerosis; epidemiology; immunology; inflammation

PMID:
23688675
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3698770
Free PMC Article
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