Abstract 001: Axl Expression by CD4+ T Lymphocytes Promotes Salt-Dependent Hypertension
Introduction: Our laboratory has shown that Axl, a receptor tyrosine kinase, is important in both vascular and immune functions during deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertension. We hypothesized that Axl activity specifically in T lymphocytes could explain the dependence of hypertension on Axl.
Methods and Results: We did adoptive transfers of either Axl+/+ or Axl-/- CD4+ T cells to RAG1-/- mice that lack mature T cells. Once CD4+ T cell repopulations were confirmed, we induced DOCA-salt hypertension for 6 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (BP, mmHg) increased by 20±5 in Axl+/+RAG-/- mice after DOCA-salt, but Axl-/- RAG-/- mice had increases in BP by only 6+3 after 6 weeks of DOCA-salt. We isolated naïve CD4+ T cells from both Axl+/+ and Axl-/- littermates and primed them under either Th1 or Th2 polarizing conditions in culture. Production of interferon gamma (IFN-γ ng/mL) was significantly decreased (-23%, p<0.05) in Axl-/- (396±23) compared to Axl+/+ (512±42) under Th1-priming. However, Axl had no effect on interleukin 4 (IL-4, ng/mL) production under Th2 polarizing conditions. Intracellular staining of the Th1/Th2 cells with IFN-γ and IL-4 antibodies by flow cytometry confirmed expression of cytokines in culture media. Complete blood counts showed that Axl-/- mice had significantly lower white blood cells due to decreased numbers of lymphocytes (4.5±0.7x109) compared to Axl+/+ mice (7.8±0.7x109). We found a higher population of AnnexinV (marker of early apoptosis)-positive peripheral leukocytes in Axl-/- mice (10±1%) compared to Axl+/+ (4±1%) by flow cytometry; while the percentages of dead cells (~10%) were similar between Axl+/+ and Axl-/- mice.
Conclusions: Altogether we show that expression of Axl by T cells drives salt-induced hypertension. The mechanism of Axl-dependent effects on T cells occurs via T-cell-dependent expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFN-γ. In addition, Axl plays a role in inhibiting lymphocyte apoptosis in the circulation. Future work will focus on how Axl expression in T cells affects T cell-dependent vascular remodeling during hypertension.
Author Disclosures: K.M. Wadosky: None. S.N. Batchu: None. A. Hughson: None. K. Donlon: None. C.N. Morrell: None. D.J. Fowell: None. V.A. Korshunov: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.