Published: 16-06-2014 14:42 | Updated: 21-03-2019 13:18

Break-through in immunological research imply protection effects for atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammation in the vascular wall, where the immune response plays an important role. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as myocardial infarction and stroke.

Previous studies by the research group at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet has demonstrated that a type of antibodies against the lipid compound phosphorylcholine (anti-PC), has protective properties in relation to atherosclerosis and CVD. One possible mechanism is that the antibodies are anti-inflammatory. The new study demonstrate large differences between anti-PC from mouse as compared to man, where human anti.-PC is much more heterogeneous and apears to have developed through exposure to external antigens including infections. This indicates that humans and laboratory mice differ clearly through in relation to natural immunity and so called natural antibodies. The group also managed to produce in house fully human anti-PC clones and are now testing their properties.

The results could have importance for immune treatment and potentially also vaccine against chronic inflammatory diseaseses like atherosclerosis but potentially also rheumatic diseases. Johan Frostegård, professor at IMM and responsible for the study comments:

”We hope that these antibodies can be developed into novel immune treatment in diseases caused by atherosclerosis and also can be used to improve risk evaluation.”


Naturally occurring human phosphorylcholine antibodies are predominantly products of affinity-matured B cells in the adult.
Fiskesund R, Steen J, Amara K, Murray F, Szwajda A, Liu A, et al
J. Immunol. 2014 May;192(10):4551-9


Johan Frostegård, professor
Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM)
Karolinska Institutet
Tel: 08-524 871 41