AIMS: Cells of the monocyte lineage are the most abundant inflammatory cells found in atherosclerotic lesions. Dominance of the inflammatory infiltrate by monocytes indicates that there is a disease-driven mechanism supporting their selective recruitment. Previous studies have demonstrated that interactions between endothelial cells (ECs) and platelets may promote monocyte recruitment. In this study, we sought to expand on this knowledge using a complex coculture model of the diseased vessel wall. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using primary human cells in an in vitro flow-based adhesion assay, we found that secretory arterial smooth muscle cells (SMCs), cocultured with ECs, promote preferential recruitment of monocytes from blood in a TGF-β1-dependent manner. Approximately 85% of leucocytes recruited to the endothelium were CD14(+). Formation of adhesive platelet bridges on ECs was essential for monocyte recruitment as platelet removal or inhibition of adhesion to the ECs abolished monocyte recruitment. Monocytes were recruited from flow by platelet P-selectin and activated by EC-derived CC chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), although the presentation of CCL2 to adherent monocytes was dependent upon platelet activation and release of CXC chemokine ligand 4 (CXCL4). In an intravital model of TGF-β1-driven vascular inflammation in mice, platelets were also necessary for efficient leucocyte recruitment to vessels of the microcirculation in the cremaster muscle. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we have demonstrated that stromal cells found within the diseased artery wall may promote the preferential recruitment of monocytes and this is achieved by establishing a cascade of interactions between SMCs, ECs, platelets, and monocytes.
- Endothelial cells
- Adhesion molecules