Fluorescent activated cell sorting : an effective approach to study dendritic cell subsets in human atherosclerotic plaques
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Journal of immunological methods. - Amsterdam
, p. 76-85
University of Antwerp
Different immune cell types are present within atherosclerotic plaques. Dendritic cells (DC) are of special interest, since they are considered as the center of the immuniverse. Identifying inflammatory DC subtypes within plaques is important for a better understanding of the lesion pathogenesis and pinpoints their contribution to the atherosclerotic process. We have developed a flow cytometry-based method to characterize and isolate different DC subsets (i.e. CD11b+, Clec9A+ and CD16+ conventional (c)DC and CD123+ plasmacytoid (p)DC) in human atherosclerotic plaques. We revealed a predominance of pro-inflammatory CD11b+ DC in advanced human lesions, whereas atheroprotective Clec9A+ DC were almost absent. CD123+ pDC and CD16+ DC were also detectable in plaques. Remarkably, plaques from distinct anatomical locations exhibited different cellular compositions: femoral plaques contained less CD11b+ and Clec9A+ DC than carotid plaques. Twice as many monocytes/macrophages were observed compared to DC. Moreover, relative amounts of T cells/B cells/NK cells were 6 times as high as DC numbers. For the first time, fluorescent activated cell sorting analysis of DC subsets in human plaques indicated a predominance of CD11b+ cDC, in comparison with other DC subsets. Isolation of the different subsets will facilitate detailed functional analysis and may have significant implications for tailoring appropriate therapy.