Resident cardiac immune cells and expression of the ectonucleotidase enzymes CD39 and CD73 after ischemic injury

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BACKGROUND: The ectoenzymes CD39 and CD73 are expressed by a broad range of immune cells and promote the extracellular degradation of nucleotides to anti-inflammatory adenosine. This study explored the abundance of CD73 and CD39 on circulating and resident cardiac leukocytes and coronary endothelial cells under control conditions and in response to inflammation following myocardial ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). METHODS AND RESULTS: A method was elaborated to permit FACS analysis of non-myocardial cells (resident leukocytes, coronary endothelium and CD31(-) CD45(-) cells) of the unstressed heart. Under control conditions the murine heart contained 2.3 × 10(3) resident leukocytes/mg tissue, the most prominent fraction being antigen-presenting mononuclear cells (CD11b(+) CD11c(+) F4/80(+) MHCII(+)) followed by B-cells, monocytes and T-cells. CD73 was highly expressed on circulating and resident cardiac lymphoid cells with little expression on myeloid cells, while the opposite was true for CD39. Cardiomyocytes and erythrocytes do not measurably express CD39/CD73 and CD39 dominates on coronary endothelium. Three days after I/R, CD73 was significantly upregulated on invading granulocytes (2.8-fold) and T-cells (1.5-fold). Compared with coronary endothelial cells, CD73 associated with leukocytes comprised 2/3 of the total cardiac CD73. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that extracellular ATP formed during I/R is preferentially degraded by CD39 present on myeloid cells, while the formation of immunosuppressive adenosine is mainly catalysed by CD73 present on granulocytes and lymphoid cells. Upregulated CD73 on granulocytes and T-cells infiltrating the injured heart is consistent with the existence of an autocrine adenosinergic loop which may promote the healing process.




Bönner, F., Borg, N., Burghoff, S., & Schrader, J. (2012). Resident cardiac immune cells and expression of the ectonucleotidase enzymes CD39 and CD73 after ischemic injury. PLoS ONE, 7(4).

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