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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Apr 5;45(7):1018-24.

The involvement of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in atherosclerosis.

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Department of Cardiology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.



Herein, we determined the significance of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in atherosclerotic vascular disease.


Inflammation is associated with the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand/APO-2L, a member of the TNF superfamily, has a role in apoptosis induction and is recognized for its immunomodulatory properties.


Stable and vulnerable atherosclerotic human plaques and aortas from atherosclerotic mice were assayed for the presence of TRAIL, and its inducibility was assayed by immunoblot and real-time polymerase chain reaction on peripheral mononuclear cells incubated with oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for the determination of soluble TRAIL levels in atherosclerotic patients.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand is present in stable atherosclerotic lesions, is increased in vulnerable plaques, and is found to colocalize with CD3 cells and oxLDL. The TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein expression was up-regulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells after incubation with oxLDL. Serum levels of soluble TRAIL but not TNF-alpha or Fas-ligand were reduced significantly in patients with unstable angina as compared with patients with stable atherosclerotic disease and healthy subjects. A negative correlation was demonstrated between soluble TRAIL and C-reactive protein levels but not with levels of mRNA of TRAIL in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand is expressed in plaque-infiltrating CD3 cells and induced by oxLDL, whereas levels of soluble TRAIL are reduced in patients with acute coronary syndromes and negatively correlate with C-reactive protein levels. These results support a possible role for TRAIL in atherosclerosis.

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