Gut microbes and immune system associated with arteriosclerosis

Posted on Posted in AMRC Research

Date: 20 Oct 2016


Diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, chronic kidney disease, and smoking are some of the risk factors of arteriosclerosis, which may eventually lead to cardiac or cerebral infarction. Health-conscious people would exercise and eat a balanced diet, avoiding fatty food and overeating, so that they can prevent the afore-mentioned risky conditions. However, such effort does not altogether protect them against arteriosclerosis, as it is known that lipid control alone does not effectively prevent the disease. There is some “residual risk” to be identified for its full control.


Recent studies have highlighted the crucial involvement of immune system and associated local and systemic inflammation in atherosclerosis. A research group led by Tomoaki Ishigami, an associate professor at Yokohama City University (YCU) Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Medical Science and Cardio-Renal Medicine, has been focusing on the chronic and prolonged inflammation which characterizes atherosclerosis, and has revealed the involvement of multiple autoantibodies in the cause of the disease.


In a new study, YCU graduate student Lin Chen and Ishigami have shown that the inflammation is associated with the activation of certain B lymphocyte in the spleen by intestinal microflora. They also demonstrated that eradicating the intestinal flora with antibiotics cocktail and administration of an antibody specific to the certain B lymphocyte can remarkably suppress atherosclerosis in ApoE knock out mice model.


This result presents a new therapeutic mode of action toward atherosclerotic diseases, especially the ones that cannot be controlled by conventional methods. It also sheds another light to the recently highlighted importance of gut flora.



Anti-interleukin-5 and multiple autoantibodies are associated with human atherosclerotic diseases and serum interleukin-5 levels. Ishigami T, Abe K, Aoki I, Minegishi S, Ryo A, Matsunaga S, Matsuoka K, Takeda H, Sawasaki T, Umemura S, Endo Y. FASEB J 2013 Sep;27(9):3437-45. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-222653


This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) no. 26461257, and Yokohama Foundation for Advancement of Medical Science. Lin Chen is supported by MEXT Government Scholarship no. 122229. These funding sources had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


This study was published in the journal EBioMedicine (20 October 2016, online ) .
Commensal microbes-specific activation of B2 cell subsets contribute to atherosclerosis development independent of lipid metabolism. Lin Chen, Tomoaki Ishigami*(corresponding author), Rie Nakashima-Sasaki, Tabito Kino, Masashi Doi, Shintaro Minegishi, Satoshi Umemura, EBioMedicine, 2016 ( )


Link to full article


For inquiries regarding this press release


E-mail:   Phone: +81 45 787 2635

Department of Medical Science and Cardiorenal Medicine,
Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine

Fukuura 3-9, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Japan 236-0004