Soluble antiapoptotic molecules and immune activation in chronic heart failure and unstable angina pectoris

Paolo Fiorina, Ettore Astorri, Roberto Albertini, Antonio Secchi, Alessandra Mello, Mario Lanfredini, Angelo Craveri, Giorgio Olivetti, Federico Quaini

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Programmed myocyte cell death and activation of the immune system have been shown to occur in patients with congestive heart failure. Besides, unstable angina episodes are likely to be associated with immune activation. Our aim was to evaluate the role of changes in circulating levels of soluble Fas (sFas), suggestive of an enhanced inhibitory response to ongoing apoptosis, and soluble IL2 receptor (slL2-R), indicative of T- lymphocyte activation, in chronic heart failure and unstable angina pectoris. Thirty patients affected by chronic heart failure (20 idiopathic and 10 ischemic cardiomyopathy) and 13 patients with unstable angina were evaluated. Twenty healthy individuals matched for age and gender were used as controls. A complete biochemical determination of indexes of myocardial damage including cardiac troponin I (cTnI) and creatine kinase (MB/CK) was performed. The results demonstrated that mean levels of sfas and sIL2-R were significantly increased in patients affected by chronic heart failure and unstable angina and were not associated with changes in renal function or with serum levels of cTnI. Highest values of sFas were found in NYHA class IV patients (IV NYHA class = 7.39 ± 0.52 vs. controls = 1.34 ± 0.12 ng/ml; P <0.01) and more elevated in idiopathic than in ischemic cardiomyopathy (3.64 ± 0.40 vs. 1.82 ± 0.37 ng/ml; P <0.01). Moreover, in chronic heart failure patients sFas and ejection fraction were negatively correlated (P = 0.01), whereas sFas and sIL2-R were positively correlated (P <0.01). In unstable angina patients too, sFas and sIL2-R appeared to be correlated (P = 0.03); whereas sFas (angina group = 3.18 ± 0.39 vs. controls = 1.34 ± 0.12 ng/ml; P <0.01) and sIL2-R (angina group = 0.46 ± 0.11 vs. controls = 0.00 UI/ml; P <0.01) were higher in angina group than in controls. In most of the cases, the increase of sFas was associated with comparable changes in sIL2-R serum levels, indicating that the activation of Fas system is strictly associated with autoimmune-inflammatory reactions. This phenomenon, both in chronic heart failure and in unstable angina, occurs in the absence of biochemical evidences of myocardial damage and seems to parallel the activation of T cell. Soluble Fas could have a role in sustaining inflammatory response and in prolonging the detrimental effects correlated with it in chronic heart failure and angina pectoris.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Soluble Fas
  • Unstable angina pectoris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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