Vascular oxidative injury accompanies many common conditions associated with hypertension. In the present study, we employed mouse models with excessive vascular production of ROS (tgsm/p22phox mice, which overexpress the NADPH oxidase subunit p22phox in smooth muscle, and mice with vascular-specific deletion of extracellular SOD) and have shown that these animals develop vascular collagen deposition, aortic stiffening, renal dysfunction, and hypertension with age. T cells from tgsm/p22phox mice produced high levels of IL-17A and IFN-γ. Crossing tgsm/p22phox mice with lymphocyte-deficient Rag1-/- mice eliminated vascular inflammation, aortic stiffening, renal dysfunction, and hypertension; however, adoptive transfer of T cells restored these processes. Isoketal-protein adducts, which are immunogenic, were increased in aortas, DCs, and macrophages of tgsm/p22phox mice. Autologous pulsing with tgsm/p22phox aortic homogenates promoted DCs of tgsm/p22phox mice to stimulate T cell proliferation and production of IFN-γ, IL-17A, and TNF-α. Treatment with the superoxide scavenger tempol or the isoketal scavenger 2-hydroxybenzylamine (2-HOBA) normalized blood pressure; prevented vascular inflammation, aortic stiffening, and hypertension; and prevented DC and T cell activation. Moreover, in human aortas, the aortic content of isoketal adducts correlated with fibrosis and inflammation severity. Together, these results define a pathway linking vascular oxidant stress to immune activation and aortic stiffening and provide insight into the systemic inflammation encountered in common vascular diseases.
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