Volume 20 (2013) Issue 10 Pages 743-754
There is strong evidence supporting a key role of the adaptive immune response in atherosclerosis, given that both activated Th cells producing predominantly interferon-γ and oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and the corresponding antibodies have been isolated from atheromatous plaques. Studies carried out using immune complexes (IC) prepared with human LDL and rabbit antibodies have demonstrated proatherogenic and pro-inflammatory properties, mostly dependent on the engagement of Fcγ receptors Ⅰ and Ⅱ in macrophages and macrophage-like cell lines. Following the development of a methodology for isolating modified LDL (mLDL) antibodies from serum and isolated IC, it was confirmed that antibodies reacting with oxLDL and advanced glycation end product-modified LDL are predominantly IgG of subtypes 1 and 3 and that mLDL IC prepared with human reagents possesses pro-inflammatory and proatherogenic properties. In previous studies, LDL separated from isolated IC has been analyzed for its modifications, and the reactivity of antibodies isolated from the same IC with different LDL modifications has been tested. Recently, we obtained strong evidence suggesting that the effects of mLDL IC on phagocytic cells are modulated by the composition of the mLDL. Clinical studies have shown that the level of mLDL in circulating IC is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and, in diabetic patients, other significant complications, such as nephropathy and retinopathy. In conclusion, there is convincing ex vivo and clinical data supporting the hypothesis that, in humans, the humoral immune response to mLDL is pathogenic rather than protective.