Author(s): Bobryshev YV
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Abstract Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent professional antigen-presenting cells with the unique ability of primary immune response initiation. DCs originate from bone marrow progenitors, which circulate in the peripheral blood and subsequently penetrate peripheral tissues, where they give rise to immature DCs. In peripheral tissues, DCs continuously monitor the microenvironment and, when the cells encounter 'danger' signals, DCs undergo differentiation and maturation. Maturing DCs usually migrate to lymphatic tissues, where they form contacts with T cells to initiate a primary immune response. DCs were identified in arteries in 1995 and since then, further knowledge has been gained about the peculiarities of vascular-associated DCs and their role in atherosclerosis. Immune reactions toward modified lipoproteins and other factors ignited by resident vascular DCs as well as by newly arrived DCs, which originate from blood monocytes, are believed to destabilize arterial homeostasis from very earlier stages of atherogenesis. There is a remarkable heterogeneity of DCs in atherosclerotic lesions. Some DCs mature and become capable of forming clusters with T cells directly within the arterial wall. The predictive value of the numbers of circulating DC precursors in coronary artery disease and in atherosclerosis has been assessed, and it has been shown that DCs have a role in plaque destabilization. Over recent decades, DCs have proven to be a valuable instrument in immunotherapy approaches against cancer and various autoimmune diseases, and this explains the demand that the accumulated knowledge be applied to the field of atherosclerosis immunotherapy.
This article was published in Lab Invest
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology