Thursday, July 9, 2009
Immune cells lessen cardiac damage in mice
Researchers at the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin said they found a specific type of immune cell - the regulatory T lymphocyte cell - plays an important role in hypertension-induced cardiac damage. The injected Treg cells they harvested from donor mice and injected into recipient mice were infused with angiotensin II, a blood pressure-raising peptide. The study showed Tregs had no influence on the blood pressure response to angiotensin II, but cardiac enlargement, fibrosis and inflammation were sharply reduced by the treatment. Furthermore, the scientists said the tendency to develop abnormal heart rhythms that could lead to sudden cardiac death was also reduced. The researchers - Dr. Heda Kvakan and Dominik Muller - said they do not intend Treg as a therapy. However, they said their research provides a better understanding of how the immune system fits into hypertension-induced organ damage. Their findings are reported in the June 9 issue of the journal Circulation.