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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of L-4F, an apolipoprotein A-1 mimetic peptide, alone or with pravastatin, in apoE-/-Fas-/-C57BL/6 mice that spontaneously develop immunoglobulin G (IgG) autoantibodies, glomerulonephritis, osteopenia, and atherosclerotic lesions on a normal chow diet.
Female mice, starting at eight to nine weeks of age, were treated for 27 weeks with 1) pravastatin, 2) L-4F, 3) L-4F plus pravastatin, or 4) vehicle control, followed by disease phenotype assessment.
In preliminary studies, dysfunctional, proinflammatory high-density lipoproteins (piHDL) were decreased six hours after a single L-4F, but not scrambled L-4F, injection in eight- to nine-week old mice. After 35 weeks, L-4F-treated mice, in the absence/presence of pravastatin, had significantly smaller lymph nodes and glomerular tufts (PL, LP < 0.05), lower serum levels of IgG antibodies to double stranded DNA (dsDNA) (PL < 0.05) and oxidized phospholipids (oxPLs) (PL, LP < 0.005), and elevated total and vertebral bone mineral density (PL, LP < 0.01) compared to vehicle controls. Although all treatment groups presented larger aortic root lesions compared to vehicle controls, enlarged atheromas in combination treatment mice had significantly less infiltrated CD68+ macrophages (PLP < 0.01), significantly increased mean α-actin stained area (PLP < 0.05), and significantly lower levels of circulating markers for atherosclerosis progression, CCL19 (PL, LP < 0.0005) and VCAM-1 (PL < 0.0002).
L-4F treatment, alone or with pravastatin, significantly reduced IgG anti-dsDNA and IgG anti-oxPLs, proteinuria, glomerulonephritis, and osteopenia in a murine lupus model of accelerated atherosclerosis. Despite enlarged aortic lesions, increased smooth muscle content, decreased macrophage infiltration, and decreased pro-atherogenic chemokines in L-4F plus pravastatin treated mice suggest protective mechanisms not only on lupus-like disease, but also on potential plaque remodeling in a murine model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and accelerated atherosclerosis.