Association between CD8(+) T cell subsets and cardiovascular disease.

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OBJECTIVES: The findings of experimental studies suggest that the immune system plays a key role in atherosclerosis but the clinical importance of different immune cells in cardiovascular disease remains poorly characterized. In this study we investigated the association between CD8(+) T cells and carotid disease as well as development of cardiovascular disease events. DESIGN: The study cohort comprised 700 subjects from the cardiovascular arm of the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells, obtained at the 1991-1994 baseline investigation and stored at -140°C, were thawed and the different CD8(+) T cell populations analysed by flow cytometry. Baseline carotid intima-media thickness and stenosis were assessed by ultrasonography and clinical events were monitored through validated national registers. RESULTS: Subjects with a high fraction of CD8(+) T cells were characterized by decreased cytokine release from activated leukocytes, metabolic signs of insulin resistance and increased incidence of coronary events; hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for the second and third tertiles of CD8(+) T cells were 2.57 (1.16, 5.67) and 2.61 (1.19, 5,71), respectively, in a Cox proportional hazards regression model. Correlations were found between the fraction of CD8(+) CD25(+) T cells and the degree of carotid stenosis (r=0.11, P<0.01), and between the CD8(+) CD56(-) IFN-γ(+) T cell fraction and the degree of stenosis (r=-0.18, P<0.005). The association between CD8(+) CD56(-) IFN-γ(+) T cells and carotid stenosis remained significant after controlling for major cardiovascular disease risk factors. CONCLUSION: The present study provides prospective clinical evidence for a role of CD8(+) T cells in cardiovascular disease and suggests the existence of CD8(+) T cell subsets with different pathological functions. © 2013 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch