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Legein, Bart; Janssen, Edith M.; Theelen, Thomas L.; Gijbels, Marion J.; Walraven, Joep; Klarquist, Jared S.; Hennies, Cassandra M.; Wouters, Kristiaan; Seijkens, Tom T. P.; Wijnands, Erwin; Sluimer, Judith C.; Lutgens, Esther; Zenke, Martin; Hildner, Kai; Biessen, Erik A. L. and Temmerman, Lieve (2015): Ablation of CD8 alpha(+) dendritic cell mediated cross-presentation does not impact atherosclerosis in hyperlipidemic mice. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, 15414 [PDF, 2MB]

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Clinical complications of atherosclerosis are almost exclusively linked to destabilization of the atherosclerotic plaque. Batf3-dependent dendritic cells specialize in cross-presentation of necrotic tissue-derived epitopes to directly activate cytolytic CD8 Tcells. The mature plaque (necrotic, containing dendritic cells and CD8 Tcells) could offer the ideal environment for cross-presentation, resulting in cytotoxic immunity and plaque destabilization. Ldlr(-/-) mice were transplanted with batf3(-/-) or wt bone marrow and put on a western type diet. Hematopoietic batf3 deficiency sharply decreased CD8 alpha(+) DC numbers in spleen and lymph nodes (>80%;P < 0, 001). Concordantly, batf3(-/-) chimeras had a 75% reduction in OT-I cross-priming capacity in vivo. Batf3(-/-) chimeric mice did not show lower Tcell or other leukocyte subset numbers. Despite dampened cross-presentation capacity, batf3(-/-) chimeras had equal atherosclerosis burden in aortic arch and root. Likewise, batf3(-/-) chimeras and wt mice revealed no differences in parameters of plaque stability: plaque Tcell infiltration, cell death, collagen composition, and macrophage and vascular smooth muscle cell content were unchanged. These results show that CD8 alpha(+) DC loss in hyperlipidemic mice profoundly reduces cross-priming ability, nevertheless it does not influence lesion development. Taken together, we clearly demonstrate that CD8 alpha(+) DC-mediated cross-presentation does not significantly contribute to atherosclerotic plaque formation and stability.

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