Role of naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in experimental atherosclerosis

Adi Mor, David Planer, Galia Luboshits, Arnon Afek, Shula Metzger, Tova Chajek-Shaul, Gad Keren, Jacob George*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE - Naturally occurring CD4CD25 regulatory T cells (Tregs) exert suppressive effects on effector CD4 cells and downregulate experimental autoimmune disorders. We investigated the importance and potential role of Tregs in murine atherogenesis. METHODS AND RESULTS - Tregs were investigated comparatively between aged and young apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE-KO) mice and age-matched C57BL/6 littermates. The effect of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) was tested on the functional suppressive properties of Tregs from ApoE-KO and C57BL/6 mice. Tregs, CD4CD25 cells, and saline were infused into ApoE-KO mice to study their effects on atherogenesis. Treg numbers were reduced in atherosclerotic compared with nonatherosclerotic ApoE-KO mice. The functional suppressive properties of Tregs from ApoE-KO mice were compromised in comparison with those from their C57BL/6 littermates. Thus, oxLDL attenuated the suppressive properties of Tregs from C57BL/6 mice and more so in ApoE-KO mice. Transfer of Tregs from age-matched ApoE-KO mice resulted in significant attenuation of atherosclerosis compared with that after delivery of CD4CD25 T cells or phosphate-buffered saline. CONCLUSIONS - CD4CD25 Tregs may play a protective role in the progression of atherosclerosis and could be considered a therapeutic tool if results from human studies can solidify observations in murine models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-900
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Adoptive transfer
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Foxp3
  • Immune response
  • T cells


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