Objective: To investigate the antigenic effect of a peptide containing two epitopes of Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) on atherosclerotic lesion formation in mice infected with Cpn. Materials and Methods: Six-week-old Apob tm2SgyLdlrtm1Her/J mice were immunized using a repetitive immunization multiple-sites strategy with KLH-conjugated peptides derived from the major outer membrane protein and the putative outer membrane protein 5 of Cpn. Mice were fed a high-fat diet and infected with Cpn twice during the 10-week diet period. Lesions were evaluated histologically; local and systemic immune responses were analyzed by immunohistochemistry of aorta samples and cytokine measurements in plasma samples and splenocyte supernatants. Results: Mice immunized with the combined Cpn peptide showed a greater reduction in lesion size compared to mice immunized with either epitope alone [54.7% vs 39.8% or 41.72%] and was also associated with a significant decrease in lesion area in descending aortas compared with those in controls (88.9% for combined Cpn peptide, 81.9% for MOMP peptide and 75.7% for Omp5, respectively). This effect was associated with a shift in the cellular composition of plaques towards decreased inflammatory cell and increased regulatory T-cell content. Additionally, the effect was also connected with decreased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines demonstrated in plasma and in supernatant on stimulated spleen cells. Conclusions: Atherosclerotic lesion formation may be promoted by Cpn infection in the presence of a high-fat diet, and reduced by immunization with the combined Cpn peptide. The combined peptide has more potential than either epitope alone in reducing atherosclerotic lesion development through Treg expansion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)