Autoimmune mechanisms of atherosclerosis

K. Mandal, M. Jahangiri, Q. Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

24 Scopus citations


Accumulating evidence supports an autoimmune mechanism as one of the prime pathogenic processes involved in the development of atherosclerosis. So far, three proteins, including heat shock proteins (HSPs), oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), and ß2 glycoprotein1 (ß2GP1) have been recognized as autoantigens. It has been demonstrated that risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, infections, and oxidative stress, evoke increased expression of HSPs in cells of atherosclerotic lesions. Autoantibody levels against HSPs are significantly increased in patients with atherosclerosis and T lymphocytes specifically responding to these autoantigens have been demonstrated within atherosclerotic plaques. Subcutaneous immunization of animals with HSP65 induced atheroma formation in the arterial wall. Furthermore, circulating immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) antibodies are present in the plasma of animals and humans and form immune complexes with oxLDL in atherosclerotic lesions. These antibodies closely correlate with the progression and regression of atherosclerosis in murine models. Interestingly, recent reports demonstrated that pneumococcal vaccination to LDL receptor-deficient mice results in elevation of anti-oxLDL IgM Ab EO6, which is inversely correlated with the development of atherosclerosis. Finally, it has been observed that autoantigen ß2GP1 localizes in the atheroma and that autoantibodies to ß2GP1 are correlated with the incidence of atherosclerosis in patients. Hence, these autoimmune reactions to HSPs, oxLDL and ß2GP1 can contribute to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAtherosclerosis
Subtitle of host publicationDiet and Drugs
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media, LLC
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9783540225690
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)0171-2004
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0325

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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