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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Jan;34(1):211-8. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.302667. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Circulating CD40+ and CD86+ B cell subsets demonstrate opposing associations with risk of stroke.

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From the Department of Clinical Sciences, Skåne University Hospital Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden (P.T.M., I.L., L.A., R.A., B.H., H.B., J.N., G.N.F.); and Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden (G.N.F.).



Accumulating evidence shows that immune cells play an important role in atherosclerosis. Most attention has focused on the role of different T cell subsets, whereas the possible involvement of B cells has been less studied. In this study, we assessed the association of 2 different B cell subsets, CD19(+)CD40(+) and CD19(+)CD86(+) B cells, with risk for development of acute cardiovascular events.


The prospective study included 700 subjects randomly selected from the cardiovascular cohort of the Malmö Diet and Cancer study. Mononuclear leukocytes, stored at -140(○)C at the baseline investigation in 1991-1994, were thawed and B cell subsets analyzed by flow cytometry. Cytokine release from CD3/CD28-stimulated mononuclear leukocytes was measured with multiplex ELISA. Baseline carotid intima-media thickness and stenosis were assessed by ultrasonography, and clinical events were monitored through validated national registers during a median/mean follow-up time of 15 years. The subjects in the highest tertile of CD19(+)CD40(+) B cells had a significantly lower risk of incident stroke after adjustment for other risk factors. In contrast, CD19(+)CD86(+) B cells were associated with higher risk for development of a stroke event and increased release of proinflammatory cytokines from mononuclear leukocytes.


These observations provide evidence for an involvement of B cells in the incidence of stroke and suggest that both pathogenic and protective B cell subsets exist.


B-lymphocyte subsets; carotid artery diseases; prospective studies; stroke

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