Introduction: Monocytes play an important role in atherosclerotic progression having both pro and anti-inflammatory effects depending on different circulating monocyte subpopulations. The objective of this study is to characterize these subpopulations and their association with cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods: Transversal study including 102 selected patients, mean age: 65 years-old (range 41-86), 69% males. A set of specific antibodies against classical monocytes (Mont, CD14+CD16- CD300e+HLADR+), intermediate (Mon2, CD14+CD16+CD300e+HLADR+) and nonclassical (Mon3, CD14 CD16+CD300e+HLADR+) was assayed. Three groups of patients were included: 17 asymptomatic with more than one cardiovascular risk factor (group 1), 56 subjects asymptomatic but with vascular pathology assessed by ultrasound or microalbuminuria (group 2) and 19 patients with a previous atherothrombotic event (group 3). The cardiovascular risk was determined by Framingham and REGICOR scores.
Results: An association between study groups and the percentage of Mon1 and Mon2 was observed (ANOVA, p <.05), being independent of age and sex for Mon2. Likewise Mont and Mon2 subpopulations were associated with cardiovascular adverse events (beta=0.86, p=.02 beta-0.1 p=.002, respectively), independently of age and sex in the case of Mon2. Moreover the percentage of Mon3 was associated with the presence of several cardiovascular risk factors ((3 = 0.21, p =.04) in the univariate analysis. In addition, there was a correlation between the levels of Mon1 and Mon2 and leukocytes (r =0.7, p <.001 and r =0.26, p =.01, respectively).
Conclusions: The analysis of monocyte subpopulations may be clinically useful to stratify the inflammatory profile related to the different cardiovascular risk groups.