Infection, Oxidative Stress, and Changes in Circulating Regulatory T Cells of Heart Failure Patients Supported by Continuous-Flow Ventricular Assist Devices

ASAIO J. 2017 Mar/Apr;63(2):128-133. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000000487.


The objective of this study was to investigate the changes in oxidative stress (OS) and circulating regulatory T cells (Tregs) of the immune system in patients supported by continuous-flow ventricular assist device (CF-VAD) with or without infection. We recruited 16 CF-VAD patients (5 with infection and 11 without infection) and 7 healthy volunteers. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from lymphocytes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) in erythrocyte, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in plasma were measured. Circulating Tregs were evaluated by flow cytometry. Heart failure (HF) patients had elevated OS than healthy volunteers as evident from higher lymphocyte ROS, elevated oxLDL, as well as depleted SOD and TAC levels. At baseline, HF patients had decreased percentage of Tregs (5.12 ± 1.5% vs. 8.14 ± 3.01%, p < 0.01) when compared with healthy volunteers. Postimplant patients with infection illustrated 35% and 44% rise in ROS and oxLDL, respectively, 31% decrease in TAC, and marked rise in percentage of Tregs (14.27 ± 3.17% vs. 9.38 ± 3.41%, p < 0.01) when compared with the patients without infection. Elevated OS and rise in Tregs were more prominent in CF-VAD patients with infection. In conclusion, OS and compromised immune system may be important indicators of systemic response of the body to CF-VAD among HF patients with infection.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / immunology
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein