To study the effects of reduced lipoic acid gene expression on diabetic atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E null mice (Apoe−/−).
Methods and Results
Heterozygous lipoic acid synthase gene knockout mice (Lias+/−) crossed with Apoe−/− mice were used to evaluate the diabetic effect induced by streptozotocin on atherosclerosis in the aortic sinus of the heart. While diabetes markedly increased atherosclerotic plaque size in Apoe−/− mice, a small but significant effect of reduced expression of lipoic acid gene was observed in diabetic Lias+/−Apoe−/− mice. In the aortic lesion area, the Lias+/−Apoe−/− mice exhibited significantly increased macrophage accumulation and cellular apoptosis than diabetic Lias+/+Apoe−/− littermates. Plasma glucose, cholesterol, and interleukin-6 were also higher. These abnormalities were accompanied with increased oxidative stress including a decreased ratio of reduced glutathione/oxidized glutathione in erythrocytes, increased systemic lipid peroxidation, and increased Gpx1 and MCP1 gene expression in the aorta.
Decreased endogenous lipoic acid gene expression plays a role in development of diabetic atherosclerosis. These findings extend our understanding of the role of antioxidant in diabetic atherosclerosis.
lipoic acid; Lias mouse model; atherosclerosis; diabetes; and apolipoprotein E null mice
Tenascin-C (TNC), a matricellular protein, is upregulated in atherosclerotic plaques. We investigated whether the deletion of TNC gene affects the development of atherosclerosis in a murine model.
TNC−/−/apo E−/− mice were generated and used for atherosclerosis studies. We compared these results to those observed in control groups of apo E−/− mice.
The en face analysis of aortic area showed that the mean aortic lesion area of the double KO mice was significantly higher than control mice at different times after feeding of atherogenic diet; the accumulation of lesional macrophages and lipids were significantly higher, respectively. Analysis of cell adhesion molecules revealed that VCAM-1, but not ICAM-1, was upregulated 1 week after feeding of atherogenic diet in the double KO mouse as compared to apo E−/− mouse. Cell culture studies revealed that the expression of VCAM-1 in endothelial cells isolated from the double KO mouse is more sensitive to the TNFα stimulation than the cells isolated from apo E−/− mice. Cell adhesion studies showed that the adherence of RAW monocytic cells to the endothelial cells was significantly enhanced in the cultured endothelial cells from the TNC gene-deleted cells. Following the prolonged feeding of an atherogenic diet (28–30 weeks), the aortic and carotid atherosclerotic lesions frequently demonstrated large grossly visible areas of intraplaque hemorrhage in the double KO mice compared to control.
These data unveil a protective role for TNC in atherosclerosis and suggest that TNC signaling may have the potential to reduce atherosclerosis, in part by modulating VCAM-1 expression.
tenascin; atherosclerosis; plaque hemorrhage; extracellular matrix; VCAM-1
OBJECTIVE—Activation of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in diabetic vasculature is considered to be a key mediator of atherogenesis. This study examines the effects of deletion of RAGE on the development of atherosclerosis in the diabetic apoE−/− model of accelerated atherosclerosis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—ApoE−/− and RAGE−/−/apoE−/− double knockout mice were rendered diabetic with streptozotocin and followed for 20 weeks, at which time plaque accumulation was assessed by en face analysis.
RESULTS—Although diabetic apoE−/− mice showed increased plaque accumulation (14.9 ± 1.7%), diabetic RAGE−/−/apoE−/− mice had significantly reduced atherosclerotic plaque area (4.9 ± 0.4%) to levels not significantly different from control apoE−/− mice (4.3 ± 0.4%). These beneficial effects on the vasculature were associated with attenuation of leukocyte recruitment; decreased expression of proinflammatory mediators, including the nuclear factor-κB subunit p65, VCAM-1, and MCP-1; and reduced oxidative stress, as reflected by staining for nitrotyrosine and reduced expression of various NADPH oxidase subunits, gp91phox, p47phox, and rac-1. Both RAGE and RAGE ligands, including S100A8/A9, high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), and the advanced glycation end product (AGE) carboxymethyllysine were increased in plaques from diabetic apoE−/− mice. Furthermore, the accumulation of AGEs and other ligands to RAGE was reduced in diabetic RAGE−/−/apoE−/− mice.
CONCLUSIONS—This study provides evidence for RAGE playing a central role in the development of accelerated atherosclerosis associated with diabetes. These findings emphasize the potential utility of strategies targeting RAGE activation in the prevention and treatment of diabetic macrovascular complications.
Fish oil (FO), containing n-3 fatty acids (FAs), attenuates atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that n-3 FA-enriched oils are atheroprotective through alteration of monocyte subsets and their trafficking into atherosclerotic lesions.
Methods and Results
Low density lipoprotein receptor knockout (LDLr−/−) and apolipoprotein E−/− (apoE) mice were fed diets containing 10% (calories) as palm oil (PO) and 0.2% cholesterol, supplemented with an additional 10% PO, echium oil (EO; containing 18:4 n-3) or FO. Compared to PO-fed LDLr−/− mice, EO and FO significantly reduced plasma cholesterol, splenic Ly6Chi monocytosis by ~50%, atherosclerosis by 40–70%, monocyte trafficking into the aortic root by ~50%, and atherosclerotic lesion macrophage content by 30–44%. In contrast, atherosclerosis and monocyte trafficking into the artery wall was not altered by n-3 FAs in apoE−/− mice; however, Ly6Chi splenic monocytes positively correlated with aortic root intimal area across all diet groups. In apoE−/− mice, FO reduced the percentage of blood Ly6Chi monocytes, despite an average two-fold higher plasma cholesterol relative to PO.
The presence of splenic Ly6Chi monocytes parallels the appearance of atherosclerotic disease in both LDLr−/− and apoE−/− mice. Furthermore, n-3 FAs favorably alter monocyte subsets independently from effects on plasma cholesterol, and reduce monocyte recruitment into atherosclerotic lesions.
monocytosis; n-3 fatty acids; fish oil; Echium oil; inflammation; Ly6C
We previously reported that mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) expression is necessary for oxidized phospholipids to induce monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) secretion by human aortic endothelial cells. We also reported that inhibition of tyrosine phosphatases including MKP-1 ameliorated atherosclerotic lesions in mouse models of atherosclerosis.
This study was conducted to further investigate the specific role of MKP-1 in atherogenesis.
Methods and Results
We generated MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− double-knockout mice. At 24 weeks of age, the size, macrophage and dendritic cell content of atherosclerotic lesions of the aortic root were significantly lower (~-41% for lesions and macropahges, and ~-78% for dendritic cells) in MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− mice when compared with apoE−/− mice. Total cholesterol (−18.4%, p=0.045) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)/ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (-20.0%, p=0.052) cholesterol levels were decreased in MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− mice. Serum from MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− mice contained significantly lower levels of MCP-1 and possessed significantly reduced capability to induce monocyte migration in vitro. Moreover, peritoneal macrophages isolated from MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− mice produced significantly lower levels of MCP-1 when compared to peritoneal macrophages from apoE−/− mice. Furthermore, MKP-1−/−/apoE−/− mice had significantly reduced serum hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) levels, which have been reported to induce MCP-1 levels.
Our results demonstrate that MKP-1 deficiency significantly decreases atherosclerotic lesion development in mice, in part, by affecting MCP-1 levels in the circulation and MCP-1 production by macrophages. MKP-1 may serve as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of atherosclerotic disease.
mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1; atherosclerosis; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; monocytes
Glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) is the rate-limiting step in glutathione synthesis. The enzyme is a hetero-dimer composed of a catalytic subunit GCLC and a modifier subunit GCLM.
We generated apo E−/− mice deficient in GCLM (apoE−/−/Gclm−/−) and transgenic mice that over-express GCLC specifically in macrophages (apoE−/−/Gclc-Tg) to test the hypothesis that significantly altering the availability of glutathione has a measurable impact on both the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
Atherosclerotic plaque size and composition were measured in the innominate artery in chow-fed male and female mice at 20, 30, 40 and 50 weeks of age and in the aortic sinus at 40 or 50 weeks of age. The apoE−/−/Gclm−/− mice more rapidly developed complex lesions while the apoE−/−/Gclc-Tg mice had reduced lesion development as compared to the littermate apo E−/− control mice. Transplant of bone marrow from the apoE−/−/Gclm−/− and apoE−/−/Gclc-Tg mice into apo E−/− mice with established lesions also stimulated or inhibited further lesion development at 30 weeks post-transplant.
Gain and loss of function in the capacity to synthesize glutathione especially in macrophages has reciprocal effects on the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis at multiple sites in apo E−/− mice.
Atherosclerosis; macrophages; glutathione; apo E−/−
The contribution of platelets to the process of atherosclerosis remains unclear. Here, we show in vivo that platelets adhere to the vascular endothelium of the carotid artery in ApoE−/− mice before the development of manifest atherosclerotic lesions. Platelet–endothelial cell interaction involved both platelet glycoprotein (GP)Ibα and GPIIb-IIIa. Platelet adhesion to the endothelium coincides with inflammatory gene expression and preceded atherosclerotic plaque invasion by leukocytes. Prolonged blockade of platelet adhesion in ApoE−/− mice profoundly reduced leukocyte accumulation in the arterial intima and attenuated atherosclerotic lesion formation in the carotid artery bifurcation, the aortic sinus, and the coronary arteries. These findings establish the platelet as a major player in initiation of the atherogenetic process.
platelets; endothelium; atherosclerosis; integrin; glycoprotein Ib
BACKGROUND: Atherosclerosis, the major cause of mortality and invalidity in industrialized countries, is a multifactorial disease associated with high plasma cholesterol levels and inflammation in the vessel wall. Many different genes have previously been demonstrated in atherosclerosis, although limited numbers of genes are dealt with in each study. In general, data on dynamic gene expression during disease progress is limited and large-scale evaluation of gene expression patterns during atherogenesis could lead to a better understanding of the key events in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. We have therefore applied a mouse gene filter array to analyze gene expression in atherosclerotic ApoE-deficient mice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: ApoE-deficient mice were fed atherogenic western diet for 10 or 20 weeks and aortas isolated. C57BL/6 mice on normal chow were used as controls. The mRNAs of 15 animals were pooled and hybridized onto commercially available Clontech mouse gene array filters. RESULTS: The overall gene expression in the ApoE-deficient and control mice correlated well at both time points. Gene expression profiling showed varying patterns including genes up-regulated at 10 or 20 weeks only. At 20 weeks of diet, an increasing number of up-regulated genes were found in ApoE-deficient mice. CONCLUSIONS: The gene expression in atherogenesis is not a linear process with a maximal expression at advanced lesion stage. Instead, several genes demonstrate a dynamic expression pattern with peaks at the intermediate lesions stage. Thus, detailed evaluation of gene expression at several time points should help understanding the development of atherosclerosis and establishment of preventive intervention.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether pravastatin’s prevention of aortic atherosclerosis via attenuation of IL-6 action depends on modulation of STAT3 activity. Male apoE knockout (apoE-/-) mice fed on a diet containing 1.25% cholesterol (wt/wt) were divided into pravastatin group provided with pravastatin (80 mg kg-1 per day) and atherosclerosis group. After eight weeks, pravastatin significantly prevented atherosclerotic lesion and reduced levels of IL-6 in serum and lesion, and significantly decreased expressions of phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) and increased suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) expressions in lesions. Our results suggested that pravastatin’s aortic atherosclerosis preventing action via attenuation of IL-6 action may partially depend on modulation of STAT3 activity.
Pravastatin; atherosclerosis; IL-6; STAT3; SOCS3
Atherosclerosis is characterized by vascular inflammation and associated with systemic and local immune responses to oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and other antigens. Since immunization with oxLDL reduces atherosclerosis, we hypothesized that the disease might be associated with development of protective immunity. Here we show that spleen-associated immune activity protects against atherosclerosis. Splenectomy dramatically aggravated atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic apoE knockout (apoE°) mice. Transfer of spleen cells from atherosclerotic apoE° mice significantly reduced disease development in young apoE° mice. To identify the protective subset, donor spleen cells were divided into B and T cells by immunomagnetic separation before transfer. Protection was conferred by B cells, which reduced disease in splenectomized apoE° mice to one-fourth of that in splenectomized apoE° controls. Protection could also be demonstrated in intact, nonsplenectomized mice and was associated with an increase in antibody titers to oxLDL. Fewer CD4+ T cells were found in lesions of protected mice, suggesting a role for T-B cell cooperation. These results demonstrate that B cell–associated protective immunity develops during atherosclerosis and reduces disease progression.
Background and Objectives
Existing data on the spatiotemporal expression patterns of a variety of galectins in murine atherosclerosis are limited. We investigated the expression levels of galectins, and their in vivo spatiotemporal expression patterns and statin responsiveness in the inflamed atherosclerotic plaques of apolipoprotein E (apoE)-/- mice.
Materials and Methods
Galectins expression patterns in aortic atherosclerotic plaques and serum galectin-3 levels were investigated in 26-week-old apoE-/- (n=6) and C57BL/6 mice (n=9). To investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of galectin-1 and galectin-3 in plaques, high-cholesterol diet-fed 26-week-old (n=12) and 36-week-old apoE-/- mice (n=6) were sacrificed and their aortas were examined for galectins' expression using immunoblot analysis and immunohistochemical stain. 36-week-old apoE-/- mice were treated with atorvastatin (n=3, 0.57 mg/kg/day) for the evaluation of its effect on aortic galectins' expression.
Immunoblot analyses showed that galectin-1 and galectin-3 were the predominant galectins expressed in murine atherosclerosis. The serum galectin-3 level was significantly higher in apoE-/- mice (p<0.001). While galectin-1 was weakly expressed in both intimal plaques and the media of atherosclerotic aortas, galectin-3 was heavily and exclusively accumulated in intimal plaques. Galectin-3 distribution was colocalized with plaque macrophages' distribution (r=0.66). As the degree of plaque extent and inflammation increased, the intraplaque galectin-3 expression levels proportionally elevated (p<0.01 vs. baseline), whereas galectin-1 expression had not elevated (p=0.14 vs. baseline). Atorvastatin treatment markedly reduced intraplaque galectin-3 and macrophage signals (p<0.001 vs. baseline), whereas it failed to reduce galectin-1 expression in the aortas.
Galectin-3 is the predominant gal and is colocalized with macrophages within atherosclerotic plaques. Intraplaque galectin-3 expression reflects the degree of plaque inflammation.
Galectin 1; Galectin 3; Atherosclerosis; Macrophages
Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4 or CD26) inhibitors, a new class of anti-diabetic compounds, are effective in treatment of hyperglycemia. Since atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular diseases are the major complications of diabetes, it is important to determine the effect of DPP-4 inhibitors on atherosclerosis. In this study, nondiabetic and diabetic apolipoprotein E (apoE)-deficient mice were treated with DPP-4 inhibitor alogliptin for 24 weeks and atherosclerotic lesions in aortic origins were examined. Results showed that diabetes significantly increased atherosclerotic lesions, but alogliptin treatment reduced atherosclerotic lesions in diabetic mice. Metabolic studies showed that diabetes increased plasma glucose and alogliptin treatment reduced glucose. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry study showed that diabetes increased IL-6 and IL-1β protein expression in atherosclerotic plaques, but alogliptin treatment attenuated diabetes-augmented IL-6 and IL-1β expression. In consistence with the observations from the mouse models, our in vitro studies showed that alogliptin inhibited toll-like receptor (TLR)4-mediated upregulation of IL-6, IL-1β, and other proinflammatory cytokines by mononuclear cells. Taken together, our findings showed that alogliptin inhibited atherosclerosis in diabetic apoE-deficient mice and the actions of alogliptin on both glucose and inflammation may contribute to the inhibition.
Dipeptidyl peptidase-4; CD26; Atherosclerosis; Diabetes; Inflammation
Inflammatory cells are known to be associated with the progression of atherosclerosis and plaque rupture. However, the relation to inflammatory cells and apolipoproteins on the progression of atherosclerosis is unknown. This study was aimed at examining the different expressions of inflammatory cells and evaluate the effect of apolipoprotein (APO) C1 and APO E during the progression of atherosclerosis.
Ten atherosclerotic tissues were compared with five non-atherosclerotic tissues. The presence of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), macrophages, T-cells, APO C1, and APO E were identified by Western blotting and immunohistochemical analysis with antibodies. The senescence was analyzed by senescence-associated β-galactosidase.
The protein expression and senescence of macrophages, APO C1 and APO E were significantly higher in the main atherosclerotic lesion than the non-atherosclerotic lesion. A high concentration of inflammatory cells and the paucity of VSMCs were present in the shoulder area. In addition, macrophage and T-cells are expressed in the early stage of atherosclerotic development and more expanded in advanced atherosclerotic plaques. APO C1 was expressed mainly within the necrotic core, and APO E existed mostly around the necrotic core and the fibrous cap in advanced atherosclerotic plaques.
Our study indicated that the expression and the senescence of macrophage and T-cells may be closelyrelated to induction and deposition of APO C1 and APO E. This contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerotic plaque by expanding the necrotic core.
Atherosclerosis; Inflammatory cells; Apolipoproteins; Senescence
Accumulation of oxidized lipids in the arterial wall contributes to atherosclerosis. Glutathione peroxidase-4 (GPx4) is a hydroperoxide scavenger that removes oxidative modifications from lipids such as free fatty acids, cholesterols, and phospholipids. Here, we set out to assess the effect of GPx4 overexpression on atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice. The results revealed that atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic tree and aortic sinus of ApoE−/− mice overexpressing GPx4 (hGPx4Tg/ApoE−/−) were significantly smaller than those of ApoE−/− control mice. GPx4 overexpression also diminished signs of advanced lesions in the aortic sinus, as seen by a decreased occurrence of fibrous caps and acellular areas among hGPx4Tg/ApoE−/− animals. This delay of atherosclerosis in hGPx4Tg/ApoE−/− mice correlated with reduced aortic F2-isoprostane levels (R2 = 0.75, p < 0.01). In addition, overexpression of GPx4 lessened atherogenic events induced by the oxidized lipids, lysophosphatidylcholine and 7-ketocholesterol, including upregulated expression of adhesion molecules in endothelial cells, adhesion of monocytes to endothelial cells, as well as endothelial necrosis and apoptosis. These results suggest that overexpression of GPx4 inhibits the development of atherosclerosis by decreasing lipid peroxidation and inhibiting the sensitivity of vascular cells to oxidized lipids.
Glutathione peroxidase-4; Atherosclerosis; Lipid peroxidation; Monocyte adhesion; Necrosis; Apoptosis
Several lines of evidence suggest that incretin-based therapies suppress the development of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes. We investigated the possibility that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) can prevent the development of atherosclerosis in Apoe−/− mice.
Apoe−/− mice (17 weeks old) were administered GLP-1(7–36)amide, GLP-1(9–36)amide, GIP(1–42) or GIP(3–42) for 4 weeks. Aortic atherosclerosis, oxidised LDL-induced foam cell formation and related gene expression in exudate peritoneal macrophages were determined.
Administration of GLP-1(7–36)amide or GIP(1–42) significantly suppressed atherosclerotic lesions and macrophage infiltration in the aortic wall, compared with vehicle controls. These effects were cancelled by co-infusion with specific antagonists for GLP-1 and GIP receptors, namely exendin(9–39) or Pro3(GIP). The anti-atherosclerotic effects of GLP-1(7–36)amide and GIP(1–42) were associated with significant decreases in foam cell formation and downregulation of CD36 and acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase-1 (ACAT-1) in macrophages. GLP-1 and GIP receptors were both detected in Apoe−/− mouse macrophages. Ex vivo incubation of macrophages with GLP-1(7–36)amide or GIP(1–42) for 48 h significantly suppressed foam cell formation. This effect was wholly abolished in macrophages pretreated with exendin(9−39) or (Pro3)GIP, or with an adenylate cyclase inhibitor, MDL12,330A, and was mimicked by incubation with an adenylate cyclase activator, forskolin. The inactive forms, GLP-1(9–36)amide and GIP(3–42), had no effects on atherosclerosis and macrophage foam cell formation.
Our study is the first to demonstrate that active forms of GLP-1 and GIP exert anti-atherogenic effects by suppressing macrophage foam cell formation via their own receptors, followed by cAMP activation. Molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are associated with the downregulation of CD36 and ACAT-1 by incretins.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-011-2241-2) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Atherosclerosis; Cholesterol; Dipeptidyl peptidase-4; Glucagon-like peptide-1; Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide; Incretin; Macrophages; Mouse model
To evaluate the effects of a genetic reduction of Lias gene expression on atherosclerosis development.
Methods and Results
Heterozygous knockout mice for the lipoid acid synthase gene (Lias+/−) were crossed with apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mice, and the plaque size in aortic sinuses of Lias+/− ApoE−/− mice was evaluated at 6 months of age. Lesions at the aortic sinus in Lias+/− ApoE−/− males were significantly larger (1.5X) than those in Lias+/+ ApoE−/− littermate males. The lesion size was inversely correlated with an increased erythrocyte reduced glutathione/ oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSH) ratio, an systemic index of body redox balance. Lias+/− ApoE−/− males also had significantly increased plasma cholesterol and reduced pyruvate dehydrogenase complex activity in the liver. Significant reductions in the expression of genes for antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and SOD2, were observed in aortas of Lias+/− ApoE−/− males. Female Lias+/− ApoE−/− also exhibited changes in these parameters, parallel to those observed in males. However, the Lias gene effects for the majority of these factors, including atherosclerotic lesion size, were not significant in females.
Our data provide evidence that Lias deficiency enhances atherosclerosis in male mice, at least in part due to reduce antioxidant capacity. The notable absence of such effects in females leaves open the possibility of a gender-specific protection mechanism.
antioxidant; lipoic acid; Lias mouse model; atherosclerosis; apolipoprotein E null mice
Periodontal disease (PD) and atherosclerosis are both polymicrobial and multifactorial and although observational studies supported the association, the causative relationship between these two diseases is not yet established. Polymicrobial infection-induced periodontal disease is postulated to accelerate atherosclerotic plaque growth by enhancing atherosclerotic risk factors of orally infected Apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoEnull) mice. At 16 weeks of infection, samples of blood, mandible, maxilla, aorta, heart, spleen, and liver were collected, analyzed for bacterial genomic DNA, immune response, inflammation, alveolar bone loss, serum inflammatory marker, atherosclerosis risk factors, and aortic atherosclerosis. PCR analysis of polymicrobial-infected (Porphyromonas gingivalis [P. gingivalis], Treponema denticola [T. denticola], and Tannerella forsythia [T. forsythia]) mice resulted in detection of bacterial genomic DNA in oral plaque samples indicating colonization of the oral cavity by all three species. Fluorescent in situ hybridization detected P. gingivalis and T. denticola within gingival tissues of infected mice and morphometric analysis showed an increase in palatal alveolar bone loss (p<0.0001) and intrabony defects suggesting development of periodontal disease in this model. Polymicrobial-infected mice also showed an increase in aortic plaque area (p<0.05) with macrophage accumulation, enhanced serum amyloid A, and increased serum cholesterol and triglycerides. A systemic infection was indicated by the detection of bacterial genomic DNA in the aorta and liver of infected mice and elevated levels of bacterial specific IgG antibodies (p<0.0001). This study was a unique effort to understand the effects of a polymicrobial infection with P. gingivalis, T. denticola and T. forsythia on periodontal disease and associated atherosclerosis in ApoEnull mice.
Apolipoprotein E-null mice with a 129S6/SvEvTac strain background (129-apoE) develop atherosclerotic plaques faster in the aortic arch but slower in the aortic root than those with a C57BL/6J background (B6-apoE). The shape of the aortic arch also differs in the two strains.
Since circulating plasma factors are the same at both locations, we tested the hypothesis that genetic factors affecting vascular geometry also affect the location and extent of atherosclerotic plaque development.
Methods and Results
Tests on the F2 progeny from a cross between 129-apoE-null and B6-apoE-null mice showed that the extent of atherosclerosis in the aortic arch is significantly correlated in males, but not in females, with the shape of arch curvature (r=0.34, p<0.0001) and weakly with the arch diameter (r=0.20, p=0.02). Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis identified two significant peaks for aortic arch lesion size on chromosome 1 (105Mb, LOD=5.0, and 163Mb, LOD=6.8), and a suggestive QTL on chromosome 15 (96Mb, LOD=4.7). A significant QTL for aortic root lesion size was on chromosome 9 (61Mb, LOD=6.9), but it was distinct from the QTLs for arch lesion size. Remarkably, the QTLs for susceptibility to atherosclerosis in the arch overlapped with a significant QTL that affects curvature of the arch on chromosome 1 (121Mb, LOD=5.6) and a suggestive QTL on chromosome 15 (76Mb, LOD=3.5).
The overlapping QTLs for curvature of the aortic arch and atherosclerosis support that the ontogeny of the aortic arch formation is a potential risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Apolipoprotein E-null mice; Quantitative trait locus; Atherosclerosis; Vascular geometry
Recent studies have highlighted the potential of cell therapy for atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of mononuclear cell (MNC) therapy on the development of atherosclerotic lesions in the apolipoprotein E knockout (apoE KO) mouse.
We investigated vascular lipid deposition, vascular remodeling, oxidative stress, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression in apoE KO mice treated with spleen MNCs isolated from lacZ transgenic mice (apoE KO-MNC) for 8 weeks compared to untreated control mice (apoE KO).
Histological analysis of aortas showed a significant reduction in the lipid deposition area in apoE KO-MNC mice compared to apoE KO mice (0.051 ± 0.004 vs 0.117 ± 0.016 mm2, respectively, p < 0.01). In addition, vessel morphometry revealed that MNC therapy prevented the outward (positive) remodeling in apoE KO mice that is normally observed (apoE KO-MNC: 0.98 ± 0.07 vs apoE KO: 1.37 ± 0.09), using wild-type mice (C57BL/6J) as a reference. ApoE KO-MNC mice also have reduced production of superoxide anions and increased eNOS expression compared to apoE KO mice. Finally, immunohistochemistry analysis revealed a homing of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in the aortas of apoE KO-MNC mice.
MNC therapy attenuates the progression of atherosclerosis in the aortas of apoE KO mice. Our data provide evidence that the mechanism by which this attenuation occurs includes the homing of EPCs, a decrease in oxidative stress and an upregulation of eNOS expression.
cell therapy; atherosclerosis; apoE KO mice; EPC
Diabetic patients have an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis and related complications compared to non-diabetic individuals. The increased cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes is due in part to genetic variations that influence both glucose homeostasis and atherosclerotic lesion growth. Mouse strains C57BL/6J (B6) and BALB/cJ (BALB) exhibit distinct differences in fasting plasma glucose and atherosclerotic lesion size when deficient in apolipoprotein E (Apoe−/− . Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was performed to determine genetic factors influencing the two phenotypes.
Methods and Results
266 female F2 mice were generated from an intercross between B6.Apoe−/− and BALB.Apoe−/− mice and fed a Western diet for 12 weeks. Atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic root, fasting plasma glucose, and body weight were measured. 130 microsatellite markers across the entire genome were genotyped. Four significant QTLs, Ath1 on chromosome (Chr) 1, Ath41 on Chr2, Ath42 on Chr5, and Ath29 on Chr9, and one suggestive QTL on Chr4, were identified for atherosclerotic lesion size. Four significant QTLs, Bglu3 and Bglu12 on Chr1, Bglu13 on Chr5, Bglu15 on Chr12, and two suggestive QTLs on Chr9 and Chr15 were identified for fasting glucose levels on the chow diet. Two significant QTLs, Bglu3 and Bglu13, and one suggestive locus on Chr8 were identified for fasting glucose on the Western diet. One significant locus on Chr1 and two suggestive loci on Chr9 and Chr19 were identified for body weight. Ath1 and Ath42 coincided with Bglu3 and Bglu13, respectively, in the confidence interval.
We have identified novel QTLs that have major influences on atherosclerotic lesion size and glucose homeostasis. The colocalization of QTLs for atherosclerosis and diabetes suggests possible genetic connections between the two diseases.
Atherosclerosis; type 2 diabetes; quantitative trait locus; hyperglycemia
Long-term exercise is associated with reduced atherosclerotic burden, inflammation, and enhanced endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels in mice. Infusion of progenitor cells in mice decreases atherosclerosis and suppresses inflammation. The aim of this study was to determine whether exercise-induced enhancement of EPCs is associated with reduced atherosclerosis and inflammation. To study this, 20-week old ApoE−/− mice with advanced atherosclerotic lesions (n = 12/group) were randomized to voluntary running or no running for 8 weeks. Exercise led to a potent suppression of elevated circulating proinflammatory cytokines without significant reduction of atherosclerotic lesions. When repeated in ApoE−/− mice with early atherosclerotic disease, exercise led to a 62% (p = 0.017) reduction in lesion thickness (intima-to-media ratio) at the aortic root. Interestingly, BM-EPC levels were significantly elevated under proinflammatory conditions seen in ApoE−/− mice and decreased in response to exercise, independent of the degree of atherosclerosis. Under early atherosclerotic conditions, long-term exercise reduces atherosclerotic plaque burden and is associated with reduced systemic inflammation. Elevated BM-EPCs seen in atherosclerotic conditions may be a marker of generalized vascular inflammation or injury, and decrease in response to exercise, along with other markers of inflammation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 15–23.
Although advanced age is considered a risk factor for several diseases, the impact of gender on age-associated cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerotic processes and valvular diseases, remains not completely clarified. The present study was designed to assess aortic valve morphology and function and vascular damage in elderly using the apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE KO) mouse. Our hypothesis was that advanced age-related cardiovascular changes are aggravated in atherosclerotic male mice.
The grade (0 to 4) of aortic regurgitation was evaluated through angiography. In addition, vascular lipid deposition and senescence were evaluated through histochemical analyses in aged male and female ApoE KO mice, and the results were compared to wild-type C57BL/6J (C57) mice.
Aortic regurgitation was observed in 92% of the male ApoE KO mice and 100% of the male C57 mice. Comparatively, in age-matched female ApoE KO and C57 mice, aortic regurgitation was observed in a proportion of 58% and 53%, respectively. Histological analysis of the aorta showed an outward (positive) remodeling in ApoE KO mice (female: 1.86 ± 0.15; male: 1.89 ± 0.68) using C57 groups as reference values. Histochemical evaluation of the aorta showed lipid deposition and vascular senescence only in the ApoE KO group, which were more pronounced in male mice.
The data show that male gender contributes to the progression of aortic regurgitation and that hypercholesterolemia and male gender additively contribute to the occurrence of lipid deposition and vascular senescence in elderly mice.
Statins are first-line pharmacotherapeutic agents for hypercholesterolemia treatment in humans. However the effects of statins on atherosclerosis in mouse models are very paradoxical. In this work, we wanted to evaluate the effects of simvastatin on serum cholesterol, atherogenesis, and the expression of several factors playing important roles in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) in apoE-/- mice fed a high-fat diet.
The atherosclerotic lesion formation displayed by oil red O staining positive area was reduced significantly by 35% or 47% in either aortic root section or aortic arch en face in simvastatin administrated apoE-/- mice compared to the control. Plasma analysis by enzymatic method or ELISA showed that high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) contents were remarkably increased by treatment with simvastatin. And plasma lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) activity was markedly increased by simvastatin treatment. Real-time PCR detection disclosed that the expression of several transporters involved in reverse cholesterol transport, including macrophage scavenger receptor class B type I, hepatic ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters ABCG5, and ABCB4 were induced by simvastatin treatment, the expression of hepatic ABCA1 and apoA-I, which play roles in the maturation of HDL-C, were also elevated in simvastatin treated groups.
We demonstrated the anti-atherogenesis effects of simvastatin in apoE-/- mice fed a high-fat diet. We confirmed here for the first time simvastatin increased the expression of hepatic ABCB4 and ABCG5, which involved in secretion of cholesterol and bile acids into the bile, besides upregulated ABCA1 and apoA-I. The elevated HDL-C level, increased LCAT activity and the stimulation of several transporters involved in RCT may all contribute to the anti-atherosclerotic effect of simvastatin.
There are well-known genetic background effects on atherosclerosis susceptibility in mice. To study the basis of these effects, we have generated the apolipoprotein E-null mutation in mouse embryonic stem cells of 129/SvEv origin, maintained it in the inbred strain (129-apoE), and compared these mice with those previously made in strain 129/Ola and backcrossed to a C57BL/6 genetic background (B6-apoE). Plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the apoE-129 mice are twice the levels in apoE-B6, and both VLDL/chylomicron remnants and HDL particles are increased. Regression analysis of plaque size relative to the age of mice suggests that the initiation of atherosclerotic plaque development at the aortic root is slower in 129-apoE mice (intercept at 3.9 mo in females and 4.1 mo in males) than in B6-apoE mice (1.3 mo in females and 2.8 mo in males). In contrast, 129-apoE mice develop extensive plaques in the aortic arches earlier than B6-apoE mice. Distinct differences in the geometry of the aortic arch between the two strains suggest that anatomical differences may contribute to the effects of genetic background on atherosclerosis. The 129-apoE/B6-apoE pair thus provides a tool to study factors governing the relation between arterial geometry and the location of plaque development.
animal model; atherosclerotic plaque distribution; cholesterol; aortic arch; aortic root; inbred mouse strain; ductus arteriosus
Objective: We have previously shown that the transcription factor, nuclear factor of activated T-cells 5 (NFAT5), regulates vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic modulation, but the role of NFAT5 in atherosclerosis is unknown. Our main objective was to determine if NFAT5 expression in bone marrow (BM)-derived cells altered atherosclerotic development and macrophage function. Methods and Results: NFAT5+/−ApoE−/− mice were generated for in vivo atherosclerosis studies. Following high fat diet feeding, en face analysis of the thoracic aorta established that genome-wide NFAT5 haploinsufficiency reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation by 73%. BM transplant studies revealed that transplantation of NFAT5+/−ApoE−/− marrow into NFAT5+/+ApoE−/− mice resulted in a similar 86% reduction in lesion formation. In vitro functional analysis of BM-derived macrophages demonstrated that NFAT5 is required for macrophage migration, which is a key event in the propagation of atherosclerosis. Conclusion: We have identified NFAT5 in BM-derived cells as a positive regulator of atherosclerotic lesion formation and macrophage function in the vasculature.
TonEBP; macrophage; atherosclerosis; bone marrow; migration