Thesis Katka Szilagyi

On 26 February 2016 Katka Szilagyi defended her thesis ‘Role of Inflammation in Development of Atherosclerosis’ at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Promotores: Prof G Kraal PhD and prof M de Winther PhD
Copromotor: TK van den Berg PhD

The research for this thesis was conducted at the Dept of Blood Cell Research, Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory Amsterdam. The thesis was financially supported through NWO-TOP grant.


Cardiovascular diseases kill more people every year than any other disease. The most common underlying reason for cardiovascular diseases is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is in fact a chronic inflammation of our blood vessels caused by increased level of lipid particles in the blood circulation. The lipid particles can more easily migrate through injured blood vessel where they accumulate and attract arrival of many immune cells. Amongst those immune cells macrophages and T cells are the first to arrive, followed by neutrophils, dendritic cells, and to less extent also B cells. Work described in this thesis focused on the role of macrophages and B cells in the process of inflammation during the development of atherosclerosis. In particular, we closely looked at the functions of a protein called Signal Regulatory Protein alpha (SIRPa) present on many immune cells. We described for the first time presence of SIRPa on a subset of B cells and showed involvement of SIRPa in the development of atherosclerosis through the regulation of natural antibodies production.  
In summary, results described in this thesis provided us with a better insight in the inflammatory processes during the development of atherosclerosis. Especially findings about involvement of SIRPa in atherosclerosis may lead to development of new medications for patients with atherosclerosis.