The perturbed immune system in coronary artery disease (Vascular Immunology Group)

Flow cytometry

Inflammation is a key pathogenic mechanism in cardiovascular disease. Our previous research has shown that immune homeostasis is disrupted in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) as compared to age-matched healthy persons. 

The immune system in patients is perturbed comprising deficits of NK cells and regulatory T cells. Patients also exhibit enhanced inflammatory response to stress and impaired cortisol response. Altogether, data point towards impaired immune regulatory/anti-inflammatory capacity.

Blood sample for cell extractionThe base of our study material is blood (sometimes saliva and bone marrow) from persons with manifest or preclinical CAD and healthy controls. Immune phenotypes are assessed by flow cytometry and transcriptional profiling. Immune regulation, cortisol sensitivity, oxidation-induced apoptosis and antioxidant protection are studied ex vivo.

We further evaluate whether acute psychological stress or physical exercise can be used as models for stress-induced inflammation.

The aim is to reveal underlying mechanisms, define more relevant inflammatory biomarkers and develop treatment strategies for restoration of immune competence and cortisol response in CAD patients.


  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation
  • FORSS – Forskningsrådet i Sydöstra Sverige

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