Neuroimmune Cardiovascular Interfaces form Atherosclerosis Brain Circuits

Mohanta, Sarajo*; Peng, Li; Li, Yuanfang; Yin, Changjun; Lu, Shu; Sun, Ting; Carnevale, Lorenzo; Perrotta, Marialuisa; Förstera, Benjamin; Stanic, Karen; Saeed, Borhan; Ma, Zhe; Carnevale, Raimondo; Hu, Desheng; Bianchini, Mariaelvy; Szczepaniak, Piotr; Nosalski, Richard; Pallante, Fabio; Beer, Michael; Santovito, Donato; Ertürk, Ali; Mettenleiter, Thomas C. GND; Klupp, Barbara GND; Megens, Remco; Steffens, Sabine; Pelisek, Jaroslav; Eckstein, Hans-Henning; Habenicht, Livia; D’Agostino, Giuseppe; Guzik, Tomasz; Olofsson, Peder; Weber, Christian; Lembo, Giuseppe; Carnevale, Daniela; Habenicht, Andreas

Atherosclerosis is a chronic nonresolving inflammatory disease of medium- and large-sized arteries causing heart attacks and strokes. As atherosclerotic plaques in the inner intimal layer and aortic media of these arteries lack nerve fibers, the impact of innervation on atherosclerosis remains unknown. However, nerves use the adventitia as their primary conduit to reach target tissues. We and others characterized artery tertiary lymphoid organs (ATLOs) in the aorta adventitia of apolipoprotein E knock-out mice and also found such aggregates in human diseased coronary arteries and other arterial tree segments. In view of these observations, we postulated that the peripheral nervous system may interact with diseased arteries via adventitial immune cells. We found in aged hyperlipidemic mice and in human atherosclerotic tissues that widespread neuro-immune-cardiovascular-interfaces (NICIs) establish atherosclerosis-brain circuits (ABCs) capable of sensing and affecting atherosclerosis: (i) ATLOs interact with the peripheral nervous system (PNS) by stimulating axon growth; (ii) the adventitia is innervated by the sensory and sympathetic NS but not by the parasympathetic NS system; (iii) the adventitia is wired directly to the brain stem through lower thoracic dorsal-root-ganglia and sympathetic perivascular ganglia; (iv) advanced atherosclerosis is associated with increased nerve activities in splenic and celiac vagus nerves; and (v) elimination of the sympathetic NS disrupts ATLOs, attenuates atherosclerosis progression, and reduces plaque vulnerability. Our data demonstrate the pathophysiological relevance of NICIs in atherosclerosis and that the PNS employs NICIs to assemble ABCs. We hypothesize that intervention into neural circuits creates multiple unexpected opportunities to treat atherosclerosis.


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Mohanta, Sarajo* / Peng, Li / Li, Yuanfang / et al: Neuroimmune Cardiovascular Interfaces form Atherosclerosis Brain Circuits. 2020.


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