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Thromb Haemost. 2004 Aug;92(2):419-24.

CD14+CD16+ monocytes in coronary artery disease and their relationship to serum TNF-alpha levels.

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Department of Medicine II and Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.


Monocytes play a central role in the inflammatory disease atherosclerosis. CD14+CD16+ monocytes are considered proinflammatory monocytes, as they have an increased capacity to produce proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, and are elevated in various inflammatory diseases. We hypothesized that patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) have increased levels of CD14+CD16+ monocytes, and that CD14+CD16+ monocytes are associated with inflammation markers. We investigated CD14+CD16+ monocytes in 247 patients with CAD and 61 control subjects using flow cytometry. In addition serum concentrations of TNF-alpha, IL-6, and Hs-CRP were assessed. Patients with CAD had higher levels of CD14+CD16+ monocytes than controls (13.6% versus 11.4%; p<0.001). Logistic regression analysis including quartiles of CD14+CD16+ monocytes showed that CD14+CD16+ monocytes were associated with prevalence of CAD (OR 4.9, 95% CI 2.5-19.1, for subjects in the fourth quartile in comparison to subjects in the first quartile). The association between CD14+CD16+ monocytes and CAD remained independently significant after adjustment for most potential confounders (OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.2-20.0). Serum concentrations of TNF-alpha were elevated in subjects within the highest quartiles of CD14+CD16+ monocytes (p=0.018). Our study showed that increased numbers of CD14+CD16+ monocytes are associated with coronary atherosclerosis and TNF-alpha. In accordance, recent animal studies suggest a possibly important role of these monocytes in the development of atherosclerosis.

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