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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051556. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Mobilization of regulatory T cells in response to carotid injury does not influence subsequent neointima formation.

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Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.



T cells have been attributed an important role in modulating repair responses following vascular injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of different T cell subsets in this context.


A non-obstructive collar was introduced to inflict carotid artery injury in mice and subsequent activation of immune cells in draining lymph nodes and spleen were studied by flow cytometry. Carotid artery injury of wild type mice was associated with mobilization of both Th1 type CD4(+)IFNγ(+) and regulatory CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) T cells in draining lymph nodes. Studies using FoxP3-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic C57/Bl6 mice demonstrated scattered presence of regulatory T cells in the adventitial tissue of injured arteries as well as a massive emigration of regulatory T cells from the spleen in response to carotid injury. However, deletion of antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells (H2(0) mice), as well as deletion of regulatory T cells (through treatment with blocking anti-CD25 antibodies), did not affect neointima formation. Also deletion of antigen presentation to CD8(+) T cells (Tap1(0) mice) was without effect on carotid collar-induced neointima formation.


The results demonstrate that carotid artery injury is associated with mobilization of regulatory T cells. Depletion of regulatory T cells does not, however, influence the subsequent repair processes leading to the formation of a neointima. The results also demonstrate that lack of CD8(+) T cells does not influence neointima formation in presence of functional CD4(+) T cells and B cells.

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