Natural antibodies and the autoimmunity of atherosclerosis

Springer Semin Immunopathol. 2005 Mar;26(4):385-404. doi: 10.1007/s00281-004-0185-z.


In recent years, the subject of natural antibodies has been revisited and the immunobiological roles of these humoral factors are being better defined. These antibodies are secreted by distinct sets of innate-like B cells, B-1 cells and marginal zone B cells, which arise early in development to become the sources of "natural immune memory". Due to their interactions with a variety of self-determinants, natural antibodies have previously been postulated to play roles in the maintenance of host homeostasis. A central paradigm has recently been developed from the demonstration that oxidation derived epitopes on apoptotic cells and oxidized low-density lipoproteins are recognized by the phosphorylcholine-specific germline encoded B-1 cell natural antibody, T15, which has provided important insights into possible "house-keeping" functions under both normal and pathological conditions. In this review, the potential functions of natural antibodies in the pathogenesis and progression of the chronic inflammatory condition of atherosclerosis are discussed, as well as their capacities for apoptotic cell binding and clearance. These interactions of natural antibodies and oxidation-epitopes from phospholipids appear to provide a dynamic immunobiological connection linking host responses in infection, autoimmunity and atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / biosynthesis
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / immunology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Autoantigens
  • Autoimmunity*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / immunology
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Autoantigens
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein