Activated myeloid dendritic cells accumulate and co-localize with CD3+ T cells in coronary artery lesions in patients with Kawasaki disease

Atilla Yilmaz, Anne Rowley, Danica J. Schulte, Terence M. Doherty, Nicolas W.J. Schröder, Michael C. Fishbein, Mitra Kalelkar, Iwona Cicha, Katja Schubert, Werner G. Daniel, Christoph D. Garlichs, Moshe Arditi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence implicating the participation of dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells in various vascular inflammatory diseases such as giant cell arteritis, Takayasu's arteritis, and atherosclerosis led us to hypothesize that they might also participate in the pathogenesis of coronary arteritis in Kawasaki disease (KD). Coronary artery specimens from 4 patients with KD and 6 control patients were obtained. Immunohistochemical and computer-assisted histomorphometric analyses were performed to detect all myeloid DCs (S-100+, fascin+), all plasmacytoid DCs (CD123+) as well as specific DC subsets (mature myeloid DCs [CD83+], myeloid [BDCA-1+] and plasmacytoid DC precursors [BDCA-2+]), T cells (CD3+), and all antigen-presenting cells (HLA-DR+). Co-localization of DCs with T cells was assessed using double immunostaining. Significantly more myeloid DCs at a precursor, immature or mature stage were found in coronary lesions of KD patients than in controls. Myeloid DC precursors were distributed equally in the intima and adventitia. Mature myeloid DCs were particularly abundant in the adventitia. There was a significant correlation between mature DCs and HLA-DR expression. Double immunostaining demonstrated frequent contacts between myeloid DCs and T cells in the outer media and adventitia. Plasmacytoid DC precursors were rarely found in the adventitia. In conclusion, coronary artery lesions of KD patients contain increased numbers of mature myeloid DCs with high HLA-DR expression and frequent T cell contacts detected immunohistochemically. This suggests that mature arterial myeloid DCs might be activating T cells in situ and may be a significant factor in the pathogenesis of coronary arteritis in KD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Aneurysm
  • Coronary disease
  • Immune system
  • Inflammation
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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