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Pontus Dunér

Assistant researcher

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Immune responses against aldehyde-modified laminin accelerate atherosclerosis in Apoe(-/-) mice.


  • Pontus Dunér
  • Fong To
  • Katarina Berg
  • Ragnar Alm
  • Harry Björkbacka
  • Daniel Engelbertsen
  • Gunilla Nordin Fredrikson
  • Jan Nilsson
  • Eva Bengtsson

Summary, in English

BACKGROUND: LDL oxidation in the vascular wall is associated with aldehyde modification of surrounding extracellular matrix proteins that may target autoimmune responses against vascular tissues. Here we investigated the possible influence of immunity against a malondialdehyde (MDA)-modified form of the basement membrane protein laminin on atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: IgM and IgG autoantibodies were present in human plasma and a prospective clinical study demonstrated that individuals who later suffered from acute cardiovascular events had lower levels of MDA-laminin antibodies compared to those in the control group. Immunohistochemical analysis of atherosclerotic plaques from Apoe(-/-) mice demonstrated co-localization between laminin and MDA epitopes, however MDA-laminin IgG was absent in mouse plasma. To determine the effect of MDA-laminin immunity, Apoe(-/-) mice were immunized with MDA-laminin. Analysis of circulating leukocytes at 12 weeks demonstrated increased T-cell activation, expansion of Th17 cells and a lower fraction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in mice immunized with MDA-laminin. At 25 weeks, aortic atherosclerosis was increased by more than 60% in mice immunized with MDA-laminin, together with increased levels of MDA-laminin IgG1 and MDA-laminin-specific T-cells expressing IL-2, IL-4 and IL-6 in the spleen. CONCLUSION: The clinical observations suggest that immune responses against MDA-laminin may be involved in the development of cardiovascular disease in humans. Furthermore, observations in mice provide evidence for the presence of aldehyde-modified laminin in atherosclerotic lesions and demonstrate that induction of an immune response against these structures is associated with activation of Th17 cells, reduced fraction of Tregs and a more aggressive development of atherosclerosis.


  • Cardiovascular Research - Immunity and Atherosclerosis
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year












Document type

Journal article




  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems



Research group

  • Cardiovascular Research - Immunity and Atherosclerosis


  • ISSN: 1879-1484