Recent studies have emphasized a role of adaptive immunity, and particularly T cells, in the genesis of hypertension. We sought to determine the T-cell subtypes that contribute to hypertension and renal inflammation in angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Using T-cell receptor spectratyping to examine T-cell receptor usage, we demonstrated that CD8+ cells, but not CD4+ cells, in the kidney exhibited altered T-cell receptor transcript lengths in Vβ3, 8.1, and 17 families in response to angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Clonality was not observed in other organs. The hypertension caused by angiotensin II in CD4CD25-/- and MHCIICD25-/- mice was similar to that observed in wild-type mice, whereas CD25-/- mice and OT1xRAG-1CD25-/- mice, which have only 1 T-cell receptor, exhibited a blunted hypertensive response to angiotensin II. Adoptive transfer of pan T cells and CD8+ T cells but not CD4+/CD25- cells conferred hypertension to RAG-1CD25-/- mice. In contrast, transfer of CD4+/CD25+ cells to wild-type mice receiving angiotensin II decreased blood pressure. Mice treated with angiotensin II exhibited increased numbers of kidney CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In response to a sodium/volume challenge, wild-type and CD4CD25-/- mice infused with angiotensin II retained water and sodium, whereas CD25-/- mice did not. CD25-/- mice were also protected against angiotensin-induced endothelial dysfunction and vascular remodeling in the kidney. These data suggest that in the development of hypertension, an oligoclonal population of CD8+ cells accumulates in the kidney and likely contributes to hypertension by contributing to sodium and volume retention and vascular rarefaction.
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