An Immunohistopathologic Study to Profile the Folate Receptor Beta Macrophage and Vascular Immune Microenvironment in Giant Cell Arteritis

Shirley Albano-Aluquin, Jozef Malysz, Michal Kidacki, Manohar Ratnam, Nancy J. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a chronic immune-mediated disease of medium-to-large sized arteries that affects older adults. GCA manifests with arthritis and occlusive symptoms of headaches, stroke or vision loss. Macrophages and T-helper lymphocytes infiltrate the vascular wall and produce a pro-inflammatory response that lead to vessel damage and ischemia. To date, there is no GCA biomarker that can monitor disease activity and guide therapeutic response. Folate receptor beta (FRB) is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol protein that is anchored on cell membranes and normally expressed in the myelomonocytic lineage and in the majority of myeloid leukemia cells as well as in tumor and rheumatoid synovial macrophages, where its expression correlates with disease severity. The ability of FRB to bind folate compounds, folic acid-conjugates and antifolate drugs has made it a druggable target in cancer and inflammatory disease research. This report describes the histopathologic and immunohistochemical methods used to assess expression and distribution of FRB in relation to GCAimmunopathology. Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded temporal artery biopsies from GCA and normal controls were stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin to review tissue histology and identify pathognomonic features.Immunohistochemistry was used to detect FRB, CD68 and CD3 expression. A microscopic analysis was performed to quantify the number of positively stained cells on 10 selected high-power-field sections and their respective locations in the arterial wall. Lymphohistiocytic (LH) inflammation accompanied by intimal hyperplasia and disrupted elastic lamina was seen in GCA with none found in controls. The LH infiltrate was composed of approximately 60% lymphocytes and 40% macrophages. FRB expression was restricted to macrophages, comprising 31% of the total CD68+ macrophage population and localized to the media and adventitia. No FRB was seen in controls. This protocol demonstrated a distinct numerical and spatial pattern of the FRB macrophage relative to the vascular immune microenvironment in GCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number144
StatePublished - Feb 8 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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