Expansion of CD25+ Innate Lymphoid Cells Reduces Atherosclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a newly discovered subset of immune cells that promote tissue homeostasis and protect against pathogens. ILCs produce cytokines also produced by T lymphocytes that have been shown to affect atherosclerosis, but the influence of ILCs on atherosclerosis has not been explored. Approach and Results-We demonstrate that CD25+ ILCs that produce type 2 cytokines (ILC2s) are present in the aorta of atherosclerotic immunodeficient ldlr-/-rag1-/- mice. To investigate the role of ILCs in atherosclerosis, ldlr-/-rag1-/- mice were concurrently fed an atherogenic diet and treated with either ILC-depleting anti-CD90.2 antibodies or IL-2/anti-IL-2 complexes that expand CD25+ ILCs. Lesion development was not affected by anti-CD90.2 treatment, but was reduced in IL-2/anti-IL-2-treated mice. These IL-2-treated mice had reduced very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased triglycerides compared with controls and reduced apolipoprotein B100 gene expression in the liver. IL-2/anti-IL-2 treatment caused expansion of ILC2s in aorta and other tissues, elevated levels of IL-5, systemic eosinophila, and hepatic eosinophilic inflammation. Blockade of IL-5 reversed the IL-2 complex-induced eosinophilia but did not change lesion size. Conclusions-This study demonstrates that expansion of CD25-expressing ILCs by IL-2/anti-IL-2 complexes leads to a reduction in very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Global depletion of ILCs by anti-CD90.2 did not significantly affect lesion size indicating that different ILC subsets may have divergent effects on atherosclerosis.


  • Daniel Engelbertsen
  • Amanda C. Foks
  • Noah Alberts-Grill
  • Felicia Kuperwaser
  • Tao Chen
  • James A. Lederer
  • Petr Jarolim
  • Nir Grabie
  • Andrew H. Lichtman
External organisations
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area


  • Atherosclerosis, cytokines, eosinophils, interleukin, triglycerides
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2526-2535
Number of pages10
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes