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Reduced T-Cell Thymic Export Reflected by sj-TREC in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease.

Authors: Shuaibo S. Huang, Ru R. Ding, Yi Y. Lin, Zhiqing Z. He, Feng F. Wu, Xianliang X. Dai, Yihong Y. Chen, Yanping Y. Gui, Zhigang Z. Huang, Zonggui Z. Wu, Chun C. Liang
Published: 01/12/2016, Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis


Immunologic dysfunction was recently found to be one of the most important mechanisms underlying the initiation and development of atherosclerosis. Thymus involution can contribute to immune disturbance and disequilibrium of T-cell subsets. This study aimed to explore whether recent thymic emigration (RTE) is impaired in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).


Content of signal-joint T cell receptor excision circles (sj-TREC) in T lymphocytes, a molecular marker of RTE, was assessed among CAD patients and age-matched controls. Monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR method was used to assess the samples' telomere length in order to exclude the potential influence of T cell proliferation on the dilution of sj-TREC. Patients were grouped according to Gensini score (GS) (low, GS <18; intermediate, GS 18-41; high, GS >41). Ordinary logistic regression models were used to determine potential risk factors for CAD and GS tertiles.


Average copy numbers of sj-TREC per 10(6) T lymphocytes among patients with unstable angina, stable angina, and controls were 726±429, 1213±465, and 1795±838, respectively (P<0.001). However, there was no significant difference in telomere length among groups. Moreover, the content of sj-TREC in the high GS group was most significantly reduced than the low GS group (P<0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that lower sj-TREC was independently associated with the progression of CAD (OR=0.44, P<0.001) and higher GS (OR=0.4, P<0.001).


Impaired RTE could be partly responsible for CAD development. Mechanisms may be involved in the disturbance of T lymphocyte compartment and interruption of maintained immune tolerance resulting from thymus involution.

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