Vaccination against Foxp3+ regulatory T cells aggravates atherosclerosis



      Regulatory T cells are crucial for immune homeostasis and an impaired regulatory T cell function results in many pathological conditions. Regulatory T cells have already been described to be protective in atherosclerosis. However the exact contribution of Foxp3-expressing natural regulatory T cells in atherosclerosis has not been elucidated yet.

      Methods and results

      In this study we vaccinated LDL receptor deficient mice with dendritic cells which are transfected with Foxp3 encoding mRNA and studied the effect on initial atherosclerosis. Vaccination against Foxp3 resulted in a reduction of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in several organs and in an increase in initial atherosclerotic lesion formation. Furthermore we observed an increase in plaque cellularity and increased T cell proliferation in the Foxp3 vaccinated mice.


      We further establish the protective role of Tregs in atherosclerosis. The results illustrate the important role for Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells in atherosclerosis, thereby providing a potential opportunity for therapeutic intervention against this disease.


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