Image_8_Single-Cell Sequencing of Immune Cells in Human Aortic Dissection Tissue Provides Insights Into Immune Cell Heterogeneity.TIF
Inflammation plays an important role in the progression of sporadic aortic dissection (AD). Immune cells, especially macrophages, infiltrate the aorta and secrete inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases to cause degradation of the extracellular matrix, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of AD. However, the cellular heterogeneity within these immune cells has not been fully characterized.Methods
We used single-cell RNA sequencing to profile the transcriptomes of all immune cells in AD tissue and normal aorta. Using magnetic-activated cell sorting gating on CD45, we obtained a higher resolution identification of the immune cell subsets in the aorta.Results
We observed significant differences in the proportion of major immune cell subpopulations between AD and normal aorta tissues. Macrophages accounted for a higher percentage in the normal aorta, while the proportions of T cells, B cells and natural killer (NK) cells were all increased in AD tissues. Macrophage clusters that expanded in AD tissues originated primarily from circulating monocytes and expressed genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines and molecules involved in tissue repair. T and NK cells in AD tissues exhibited enhanced cytotoxic properties. A cluster of CD4+ T cells that had expanded in AD tissues was Th17-like and might contribute to the pathogenesis of AD. Cell–cell interaction analysis highlighted the increased communication between macrophages and T cells, which primarily regulated the costimulation of T cells.Conclusions
Our study provides a comprehensive characterization of immune cells in the dissected aorta with an emphasis on the role of macrophages and T cells. The information from our study improves our understanding of immune mechanisms in AD formation and helps to identify additional useful targets for early diagnosis or therapy of AD.