Memory T cells delay the progression of atherosclerosis via AMPK signaling pathway

Li-Ping Peng, Yu Cao, Shao-Li Zhao, Yu-Xi Huang, Kan Yang, Wei Huang


Background: Memory T cells play a key role in the development of atherosclerosis (AS). This study aimed to investigate the role of AMPK signaling pathway of spleen memory T cells in the pathogenesis of AS in high-fat diet (HFD) fed mice.
Methods: Mice were divided into 5 groups: normal group, AS group, AS + solvent group, AS + Compound C (AMPK inhibitor) group and AS + A-769662 (AMPK agonist) group. HFD animals were intraperitoneally treated with Compound C at 20 mg/kg thrice weekly or A-769662 at 30 mg/kg once daily for 15 weeks. Then, the degree of AS was assessed, and the proportion of memory T cell was determined by flow cytometry.
Results: AS was evident in the aorta of HFD mice. The areas of plaque formation in both AS + Compound C group and AS + A-769662 group reduced as compared to the AS group and AS + solvent group. After intervention of AMPK activity, the proportion of memory T cells in the spleen reduced as compared to the AS group and AS + solvent group; the pro proportion of memory T cells in HFD groups was markedly higher than in the normal group and this increase was more evident in the AS + Compound C than in the AS + A-769662 group.
Conclusions: The decreased memory T cells can improve AS, which may be related to the AMPK signaling pathway. Thus, AMPK in the memory T cells may serve as a target in the prevention and treatment of AS.