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Plenary speakers in the spotlight: Hansson and Pasterkamp

Focus on... EAS 2012 Milan

As we count down to the 80th EAS Congress, 25-28 May, each week we highlight speakers who will participate in EAS 2012.

This week the speakers in the spotlight are Professor Göran Hansson and Professor Gerhard Pasterkamp, who will take part in theEAS 2012 Plenary Session CELLULAR AND HUMORAL FACTORS IN THE ARTERIAL WALL DETERMINE THE COURSE OF ATHEROGENESIS AND VASCULAR FUNCTION, 26 May, 2012.

Professor Göran Hansson


Göran Hansson is Professor of Cardiovascular Research at the Karolinska Institute and Head of the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory in the Center for Molecular Medicine at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a previous recipient of the Anitschkow Prize from the European Atherosclerosis Society, as well as other prestigious awards. The focus of his research is immune and inflammatory mechanisms in atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease, elicited by cholesterol accumulation in the artery wall. The atherosclerotic plaque contains macrophages, T cells and other cells of the immune response, as well as cholesterol derived from low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Much progress has been made in understanding the immune mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis. Studies using gene-targeted mouse models have suggested that both immune modulation and immunization may reduce the progression of atherosclerotic disease.

T cells, present at all stages of atherosclerosis, play key roles in both initiation and progression of atherosclerotic plaque. Targeting T cells is attractive because of the antigen-specific, clonal nature of these cells.

Recent research has focused on identifying peptide fragments of apolipoprotein B100 (apoB100) which act as antigenic epitopes in triggering T cell activation. Conversely, blocking the immunological response involved in T cell recognition of apoB100 inhibits T cell activation and the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, and also reduces atherosclerosis. These findings suggest therapeutic possibilities for the development of agents that selectively target T cells specific for a certain epitope.

Key references

1. Hansson GK, Hermansson A. The immune system in atherosclerosis. Nat Immunol 2011;12:204-12.

2. Hermansson A, Johansson DK, Ketelhuth DF, Andersson J, Zhou X, Hansson GK. Immunotherapy with tolerogenic apolipoprotein B-100-loaded dendritic cells attenuates atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic mice. Circulation 2011;123:1083-91.

3. Klingenberg R, Lebens M, Hermansson A, Fredrikson GN, Strodthoff D, Rudling M, Ketelhuth DF, Gerdes N, Holmgren J, Nilsson J, Hansson GK. Intranasal immunization with an apolipoprotein B-100 fusion protein induces antigen-specific regulatory T cells and reduces atherosclerosis. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2010;30:946-52.

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