MICA/B expression in macrophage foam cells infiltrating atherosclerotic plaques.

Experimental and molecular pathology

PubMedID: 24997223

Ikeshita S, Miyatake Y, Otsuka N, Kasahara M. MICA/B expression in macrophage foam cells infiltrating atherosclerotic plaques. Exp Mol Pathol. 2014;.
Infiltrating macrophages accumulate in fatty streak lesions and transform into foam cells, leading to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Inflammatory mechanisms underlying the plaque formation mediated by NKG2D-positive lymphocytes such as CD8(+) T cells, natural killer cells and natural killer T cells have been extensively investigated. Yet, the involvement of the NKG2D system itself remains poorly understood. Recent work in mouse models has shown that blockade of an NKG2D receptor-ligand interaction reduces plaque formation and suppresses inflammation in aortae. In this study, we conducted immunohistochemical analysis of NKG2D ligand expression in autopsy-derived aortic specimens. Foam cells expressing NKG2D ligands MICA/B were found in advanced atherosclerotic lesions accompanied by a large necrotic core or hemorrhage. Human monocyte-derived macrophages treated in vitro with acetylated low-density lipoproteins enhanced expression of MICA/B and scavenger receptor A, thus accounting for NKG2D ligand expression in foam cells infiltrating atherosclerotic plaques. Our results suggest that, as in mice, the NKG2D system might be involved in the development of atherosclerosis in humans.