Soluble CD40 ligand impairs the function of peripheral blood angiogenic outgrowth cells and increases neointimal formation after arterial injury

Mihail Hristov, Denis Gümbel, Esther Lutgens, Alma Zernecke, Christian Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent work has revealed an essential involvement of soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) in inflammation and atherosclerosis. We investigated whether sCD40L functionally affects peripheral blood-derived angiogenic early outgrowth cells (EOCs) and neointimal remodeling after arterial injury. Methods and Results: Besides myeloid and endothelial markers, cultured human EOCs strongly expressed CD40 mRNA and protein. EOC adhesion to fibronectin, fibrinogen, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 under flow conditions, as well as their transmigration toward stromal cell-derived factor-1α, was dose-dependently reduced after preincubation with recombinant human sCD40L for 24 hours. Integrin expression was unaffected by sCD40L, implying that integrin adhesiveness was attenuated. Surface-immobilized CD40L supported much lower adhesion of EOCs than fibronectin. Treatment of EOCs with sCD40L increased superoxide anion production and decreased viability and proliferation. Notably, CD40 mice displayed reduced neointima and improved re-endothelialization after carotid wire injury compared with wild-type mice, and therapeutic infusion of control EOCs but not EOCs pretreated with sCD40L attenuated neointimal growth after wire injury in nude mice. Furthermore, neointimal growth was more markedly diminished by infusion of spleen-derived CD40 mouse EOCs than by that of wild-type EOCs. Preincubation of wild-type EOCs but not CD40 EOCs with sCD40L before their infusion markedly aggravated neointimal formation. Treatment with sCD40L attenuated luminal incorporation of EOCs and accelerated neointimal progression. Conclusions: Endothelial dysfunction due to persistently elevated plasma levels of sCD40L may be attributable to an impairment of EOC function. Hence, in the context of arterial injury, therapeutic blockade of sCD40L may provide a novel strategy for accelerating endothelial regeneration and attenuating neointimal remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Endothelium
  • Remodeling
  • Restenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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