In vivo downregulation of T helper cell 1 immune responses reduces atherogenesis in apolipoprotein E-knockout mice

E LauratA Nicoletti


A chronic immune response involving proinflammatory T helper cell 1 (Th1) lymphocyte activation occurs in the atherosclerotic lesion, but whether this activation is protective or deleterious remains unclear. Methods and Results-- We modulated the immune response of the atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mouse. Eight-week-old apoE(-/-) mice were treated daily with pentoxifylline (PTX), a known inhibitor of the Th1 differentiation pathway, or PBS (control) for 4 weeks or 12 weeks. Twelve-week PTX treatment reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 60% (P<0.01). PTX-treated mice developed lesions that were limited to the degree of fatty streaks. In contrast, control mice developed mature fibrofatty atherosclerotic lesions. In parallel, the proportion of interferon (IFN)-gamma-producing Th1 splenic lymphocytes was significantly reduced by PTX, and lesion size was correlated to the proportion of IFN-gamma(+) T cells. In vitro addition of PTX to cultured spleen cells did not modify the production of IFN-gamma but increased the production of IL-10 by T cells, indicating that PTX does not suppress IFN-gamma production but rather blocks Th1 polarization while promoting Th2 polarization. Thus, PTX protected mice fr...Continue Reading


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