NGF, BDNF, leptin, and mast cells in human coronary atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome

G N Chaldakov, M Fiore, I S Stankulov, M Hristova, A Antonelli, L Manni, P I Ghenev, F Angelucci, L Aloe
Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry 2001, 109 (4): 357-60
While multiple growth factor, cytokines, and immune cells are identified in atherosclerotic lesions, as well as an essential nonneuronal function of neurotrophins implicated in cardiovascular tissue development and in lipid and glucose metabolism, the role of the neurotrophins NGF and BDNF and also the adipokine leptin in human coronary atherosclerosis and related disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, remains unclear. Here we report that (i) both the amount and the immunoreactivity of NGF was reduced and the expression of p75NGF receptor and the number of mast cell increased in human atherosclerotic coronary arteries (n = 12) compared with control specimens (n = 9) obtained from autopsy cases, and (ii) NGF and BDNF plasma levels were reduced in patients with metabolic syndrome (n = 23) compared with control subjects (n = 10). Also, in metabolic syndrome patients, a positive correlation between the plasma leptin levels and the number of adipose tissue mast cells was found, suggesting that leptin may be a novel adipoimmune mediator. Altogether, the results provide the first correlative evidence for the potential involvement of NGF, BDNF, leptin, and mast cells in human coronary atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome, implying neuroimmune and adipoimmune pathways in the pathobiology of these cardiovascular disorders.

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