Immunosuppressive Therapy Increases Cardiovascular Risk

Wednesday October 16, 2019

San Diego, CA (September 17, 2019) — Abcentra, a clinical-stage bio-pharmaceutical company that addresses unmet needs in inflammation, today announced its contribution to a 2019 study published in the American Heart Association Journals. The study found that, in ApoE/MHCII double knockout mice with high-cholesterol and major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) deficiency —atherosclerosis was increased compared to those mice which were only ApoE deficient, indicating that when key immune cell participation is lost, there may be an increased cardiovascular risk. This is critical as it demonstrates the important interplay of the immune system in atherosclerosis. The study, Lack of Ability to Present Antigens on Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II Molecules Aggravates Atherosclerosis in ApoE−/− Mice, was featured as an editorial in the May edition of AHA Journals.

Atherosclerosis is inflammation potentially mediated by a build-up of low-density, oxidized lipoprotein (oxLDL) in the artery. Immune responses are determined by how the antigens within the plaque are presented to T cells. Antigen presentation can either accelerate or slow down the progression of atherosclerosis.  A decrease in MHCII mediated presentation of antigens to regulatory T (Treg) cells may be important in the development of atherosclerosis, potentially increasing cardiovascular risk.

The study was conducted by renowned researchers, including Jan Nilsson, MD, PhD., presently head of the Scientific Advisory Board at Abcentra. Nilsson currently holds positions at the Clinical Research Center at Lund University, Lund University Hospital, Swedish Research Council, Malmö University Hospital Clinical Trial Unit, the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, and is a member of the editorial boards for atherosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology.

Abcentra is leveraging cutting-edge science to develop a portfolio of novel antibody therapeutics for serious inflammatory diseases where new treatments are critically needed, including accelerated atherosclerosis, psoriasis, and aortic valve stenosis. Inflammation is a primary driver behind many fatal and life-threatening diseases. By targeting inflammation, Abcentra seeks to alleviate symptoms and treat the underlying disease, creating a fuller life for patients. While currently no therapy is approved to prevent atherosclerotic progression in such patients, studies — including this one — demonstrate that inflammation is important as a target against atherosclerosis.

“Understanding the impact that immunosuppressive therapy options have on patients, as well as the benefits of an anti-inflammatory approach, is essential to ensuring treatment of a widening therapeutic population,” said Bert Liang, Chief Executive Officer, Abcentra. “Studies, such as this affirm our belief that through targeting oxLDL, we can bring new, safer and more effective treatment options to patients with inflammatory diseases.”

To read the study or to learn more about atherosclerosis, visit

About Abcentra

Abcentra is a clinical-stage bio-pharmaceutical company that addresses unmet needs in inflammation by targeting low-density oxidized lipoprotein (oxLDL). By targeting more specific mechanisms of inflammation, such as oxLDL, with more biological specificity, Abcentra believes it can reach a greater therapeutic population without the side effects and safety concerns associated with systemic immunological targets. To learn more about our novel therapies, visit: