Regression and stabilization of advanced murine atherosclerotic lesions: a comparison of LDL lowering and HDL raising gene transfer strategies.
ABSTRACT: Both reductions in atherogenic lipoproteins and increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels may affect atherosclerosis regression. Here, the relative potential of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) lowering and HDL raising gene transfer strategies to induce regression of complex murine atherosclerotic lesions was directly compared. Male C57BL/6 LDL receptor (LDLr)(-/-) mice were fed an atherogenic diet (1.25% cholesterol and 10% coconut oil) to induce advanced atherosclerotic lesions. A baseline group was killed after 6 months and remaining mice were randomized into a control progression (Adnull or saline), an apolipoprotein (apo) A-I (AdA-I), an LDLr (AdLDLr), or a combined apo A-I/LDLr (AdA-I/AdLDLr) adenoviral gene transfer group and followed-up for another 12 weeks with continuation of the atherogenic diet. Gene transfer with AdLDLr decreased non-HDL cholesterol levels persistently by 95% (p < 0.001) compared with baseline. This drastic reduction of non-HDL cholesterol levels induced lesion regression by 28% (p < 0.001) in the aortic root and by 25% (p < 0.05) in the brachiocephalic artery at 12 weeks after transfer. Change in lesion size was accompanied by enhanced plaque stability, as evidenced by increased collagen content, reduced lesional macrophage content, a drastic reduction of necrotic core area, and decreased expression of inflammatory genes. Elevated HDL cholesterol following AdA-I transfer increased collagen content in lesions, but did not induce regression. Apo A-I gene transfer on top of AdLDLr transfer resulted in additive effects, particularly on inflammatory gene expression. In conclusion, drastic lipid lowering induced by a powerful gene transfer strategy leads to pronounced regression and stabilization of advanced murine atherosclerosis.
Project description:Post-myocardial infarction (MI) ejection fraction is decreased in patients with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, independent of the degree of coronary atherosclerosis. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether selective HDL-raising gene transfer exerts cardioprotective effects post MI. Gene transfer in C57BL/6 low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr)(-/-) mice was performed with the E1E3E4-deleted adenoviral vector AdA-I, inducing hepatocyte-specific expression of human apo A-I, or with the control vector Adnull. A ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery was performed 2 weeks after transfer or saline injection. HDL cholesterol levels were persistently 1.5-times (P<0.0001) higher in AdA-I mice compared with controls. Survival was increased (P<0.01) in AdA-I MI mice compared with control MI mice during the 28-day follow-up period (hazard ratio for mortality 0.42; 95% confidence interval 0.24-0.76). Longitudinal morphometric analysis demonstrated attenuated infarct expansion and inhibition of left ventricular (LV) dilatation in AdA-I MI mice compared with controls. AdA-I transfer exerted immunomodulatory effects and increased neovascularisation in the infarct zone. Increased HDL after AdA-I transfer significantly improved systolic and diastolic cardiac function post MI, and led to a preservation of peripheral blood pressure. In conclusion, selective HDL-raising gene transfer may impede the development of heart failure.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hypercholesterolemia and low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol contribute to coronary heart disease but little is known about their direct effects on myocardial function. Low HDL and raised non-HDL cholesterol levels carried increased risk for heart failure development in the Framingham study, independent of any association with myocardial infarction. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that increased endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) number and function after lipid lowering or HDL raising gene transfer in C57BL/6 low density lipoprotein receptor deficient (LDLr(-/-)) mice may be associated with an enhanced relative vascularity in the myocardium and an improved cardiac function.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Lipid lowering and HDL raising gene transfer were performed using the E1E3E4-deleted LDLr expressing adenoviral vector AdLDLr and the human apolipoprotein A-I expressing vector AdA-I, respectively. AdLDLr transfer in C57BL/6 LDLr(-/-) mice resulted in a 2.0-fold (p<0.05) increase of the circulating number of EPCs and in an improvement of EPC function as assessed by ex vivo EPC migration and EPC adhesion. Capillary density and relative vascularity in the myocardium were 28% (p<0.01) and 22% (p<0.05) higher, respectively, in AdLDLr mice compared to control mice. The peak rate of isovolumetric relaxation was increased by 12% (p<0.05) and the time constant of isovolumetric relaxation was decreased by 14% (p<0.05) after AdLDLr transfer. Similarly, HDL raising gene transfer increased EPC number and function and raised both capillary density and relative vascularity in the myocardium by 24% (p<0.05). The peak rate of isovolumetric relaxation was increased by 16% (p<0.05) in AdA-I mice compared to control mice.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Both lipid lowering and HDL raising gene transfer have beneficial effects on EPC biology, relative myocardial vascularity, and diastolic function. These findings raise concerns over the external validity of studies evaluating myocardial biology and cardiac repair in normocholesterolemic animals.
Project description:Studies in animals showed that PCSK9 is involved in HDL metabolism. We investigated the molecular mechanism by which PCSK9 regulates HDL cholesterol concentration and also whether Pcsk9 inactivation might affect cholesterol efflux capacity of serum and atherosclerotic fatty streak volume.Mass spectrometry and western blot were used to analyze the level of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and A1 (APOA1). A mouse model overexpressing human LDLR was used to test the effect of high levels of liver LDLR on the concentration of HDL cholesterol and APOE-containing HDL subfractions. Pcsk9 knockout males lacking LDLR and APOE were used to test whether LDLR and APOE are necessary for PCSK9-mediated HDL cholesterol regulation. We also investigated the effects of Pcsk9 inactivation on cholesterol efflux capacity of serum using THP-1 and J774.A1 macrophage foam cells and atherosclerotic fatty streak volume in the aortic sinus of Pcsk9 knockout males fed an atherogenic diet.APOE and APOA1 were reduced in the same HDL subfractions of Pcsk9 knockout and human LDLR transgenic male mice. In Pcsk9/Ldlr double-knockout mice, HDL cholesterol concentration was lower than in Ldlr knockout mice and higher than in wild-type controls. In Pcsk9/Apoe double-knockout mice, HDL cholesterol concentration was similar to that of Apoe knockout males. In Pcsk9 knockout males, THP-1 macrophage cholesterol efflux capacity of serum was reduced and the fatty streak lesion volume was similar to wild-type controls.In mice, LDLR and APOE are important factors for PCSK9-mediated HDL regulation. Our data suggest that, although LDLR plays a major role in PCSK9-mediated regulation of HDL cholesterol concentration, it is not the only mechanism and that, regardless of mechanism, APOE is essential. Pcsk9 inactivation decreases the HDL cholesterol concentration and cholesterol efflux capacity in serum, but does not increase atherosclerotic fatty streak volume.
Project description:Apolipoprotein (apo) mimetic peptides replicate some aspects of HDL function. We have previously reported the effects of compound ATI-5261 on its ability to replicate many functions of native apo A-I in the process of HDL biogenesis. ATI-5261 induced muscle toxicity in wild type C57Bl/6 mice, increased CPK, ALT and AST and increase in triglyceride (Tg) levels. Aromatic phenylalanine residues on the non-polar face of ATI-5261, together with positively charged arginine residues at the lipid-water interface were responsible for these effects. This information was used to create a novel analog (CS-6253) that was non-toxic. We evaluated this peptide designed from the carboxyl terminus of apo E, in its ability to mimic apo A-I functionality. Our data shows that the lipidated particles generated by incubating cells overexpressing ABCA1 with lipid free CS-6253 enhances the rate of ABCA1 lipid efflux with high affinity interactions with native ABCA1 oligomeric forms and plasma membrane micro-domains. Interaction between ABCA1 and lipid free CS-6253 resulted in formation of nascent HDL-CS-6253 particles that are actively remodeled in plasma. Mature HDL-CS-6253 particles deliver cholesterol to liver cells via SR-BI in-vitro. CS-6253 significantly increases cholesterol efflux in murine macrophages and in human THP-1 macrophage-derived foam cells expressing ABCA1. Addition of CS-6253 to plasma dose-dependently displaced apo A-I from ?-HDL particles and led to de novo formation of pre?-1 HDL that stimulates ABCA1 dependent cholesterol efflux efficiently. When incubated with human plasma CS-6253 was also found to bind with HDL and LDL and promoted the transfer of cholesterol from HDL to LDL predominantly. Our data shows that CS-6253 mimics apo A-I in its ability to promote ABCA1-mediated formation of nascent HDL particles, and enhances formation of pre?-1 HDL with increase in the cycling of apo A-I between the pre? and ?-HDL particles in-vitro. These mechanisms are potentially anti-atherogenic.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite robust cholesterol lowering, cardiovascular disease risk remains increased in patients with diabetes mellitus. Consistent with this, diabetes mellitus impairs atherosclerosis regression after cholesterol lowering in humans and mice. In mice, this is attributed in part to hyperglycemia-induced monocytosis, which increases monocyte entry into plaques despite cholesterol lowering. In addition, diabetes mellitus skews plaque macrophages toward an atherogenic inflammatory M1 phenotype instead of toward the atherosclerosis-resolving M2 state typical with cholesterol lowering. Functional high-density lipoprotein (HDL), typically low in patients with diabetes mellitus, reduces monocyte precursor proliferation in murine bone marrow and has anti-inflammatory effects on human and murine macrophages. Our study aimed to test whether raising functional HDL levels in diabetic mice prevents monocytosis, reduces the quantity and inflammation of plaque macrophages, and enhances atherosclerosis regression after cholesterol lowering. METHODS:Aortic arches containing plaques developed in Ldlr-/- mice were transplanted into either wild-type, diabetic wild-type, or diabetic mice transgenic for human apolipoprotein AI, which have elevated functional HDL. Recipient mice all had low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to promote plaque regression. After 2 weeks, plaques in recipient mouse aortic grafts were examined. RESULTS:Diabetic wild-type mice had impaired atherosclerosis regression, which was normalized by raising HDL levels. This benefit was linked to suppressed hyperglycemia-driven myelopoiesis, monocytosis, and neutrophilia. Increased HDL improved cholesterol efflux from bone marrow progenitors, suppressing their proliferation and monocyte and neutrophil production capacity. In addition to reducing circulating monocytes available for recruitment into plaques, in the diabetic milieu, HDL suppressed the general recruitability of monocytes to inflammatory sites and promoted plaque macrophage polarization to the M2, atherosclerosis-resolving state. There was also a decrease in plaque neutrophil extracellular traps, which are atherogenic and increased by diabetes mellitus. CONCLUSIONS:Raising apolipoprotein AI and functional levels of HDL promotes multiple favorable changes in the production of monocytes and neutrophils and in the inflammatory environment of atherosclerotic plaques of diabetic mice after cholesterol lowering and may represent a novel approach to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in people with diabetes mellitus.
Project description:High density lipoproteins (HDL) are key components of reverse cholesterol transport pathway. HDL removes excessive cholesterol from peripheral cells, including macrophages, providing protection from cholesterol accumulation and conversion into foam cells, which is a key event in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The mechanism of cellular cholesterol efflux stimulation by HDL involves interaction with the ABCA1 lipid transporter and ensuing transfer of cholesterol to HDL particles. In this study, we looked for additional proteins contributing to HDL-dependent cholesterol efflux. Using RNAseq, we analyzed mRNAs induced by HDL in human monocyte-derived macrophages and identified three genes, fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1), insulin induced gene 1 (INSIG1), and the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), expression of which was significantly upregulated by HDL. We individually knocked down these genes in THP-1 cells using gene silencing by siRNA, and measured cellular cholesterol efflux to HDL. Knock down of FADS1 did not significantly change cholesterol efflux (p?=?0.70), but knockdown of INSIG1 and LDLR resulted in highly significant reduction of the efflux to HDL (67% and 75% of control, respectively, p?<?0.001). Importantly, the suppression of cholesterol efflux was independent of known effects of these genes on cellular cholesterol content, as cells were loaded with cholesterol using acetylated LDL. These results indicate that HDL particles stimulate expression of genes that enhance cellular cholesterol transfer to HDL.
Project description:Subnormal plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) constitute a major cardiovascular risk factor; raising low HDL-C levels may therefore reduce the residual cardiovascular risk that frequently presents in dyslipidaemic subjects despite statin therapy. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), a key modulator not only of the intravascular metabolism of HDL and apolipoprotein (apo) A-I but also of triglyceride (TG)-rich particles and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to pro-atherogenic apoB-lipoproteins, with heterotransfer of TG mainly from very low-density lipoprotein to HDL. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity is elevated in the dyslipidaemias of metabolic disease involving insulin resistance and moderate to marked hypertriglyceridaemia, and is intimately associated with premature atherosclerosis and high cardiovascular risk. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition therefore presents a preferential target for elevation of HDL-C and reduction in atherosclerosis. This review appraises recent evidence for a central role of CETP in the action of current lipid-modulating agents with HDL-raising potential, i.e. statins, fibrates, and niacin, and compares their mechanisms of action with those of pharmacological agents under development which directly inhibit CETP. New CETP inhibitors, such as dalcetrapib and anacetrapib, are targeted to normalize HDL/apoA-I levels and anti-atherogenic activities of HDL particles. Further studies of these CETP inhibitors, in particular in long-term, large-scale outcome trials, will provide essential information on their safety and efficacy in reducing residual cardiovascular risk.
Project description:There are several established lipid-modifying agents, including statins, fibrates, niacin, and ezetimibe, that have been shown in randomized clinical outcome trials to reduce the risk of having an atherosclerotic cardiovascular event. However, in many people, the risk of having an event remains unacceptably high despite treatment with these established agents. This has stimulated the search for new therapies designed to reduce residual cardiovascular risk. New approaches that target atherogenic lipoproteins include: 1) inhibition of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 to increase removal of atherogenic lipoproteins from plasma; 2) inhibition of the synthesis of apolipoprotein (apo) B, the main protein component of atherogenic lipoproteins; 3) inhibition of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein to block the formation of atherogenic lipoproteins; 4) inhibition of adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase to inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol; 5) inhibition of the synthesis of lipoprotein(a), a factor known to cause atherosclerosis; 6) inhibition of apoC-III to reduce triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and to enhance high-density lipoprotein (HDL) functionality; and 7) inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein, which not only reduces the concentration of atherogenic lipoproteins but also increases the level and function of the potentially antiatherogenic HDL fraction. Other new therapies that specifically target HDLs include infusions of reconstituted HDLs, HDL delipidation, and infusions of apoA-I mimetic peptides that mimic some of the functions of HDLs. This review describes the scientific basis and rationale for developing these new therapies and provides a brief summary of established therapies.
Project description:The liver plays a central role in the final elimination of cholesterol from the body either as bile acids or as free cholesterol (FC), and lipoprotein-derived cholesterol is the major source of total biliary cholesterol. HDL is the major lipoprotein responsible for removal and transport of cholesterol, mainly as cholesteryl esters (CEs), from the peripheral tissues to the liver. While HDL-FC is rapidly secreted into bile, the fate of HDL-CE remains unclear. We have earlier demonstrated the role of human CE hydrolase (CEH, CES1) in hepatic hydrolysis of HDL-CE and increasing bile acid synthesis, a process dependent on scavenger receptor BI expression. In the present study, we examined the hypothesis that by enhancing the elimination of HDL-CE into bile/feces, liver-specific transgenic expression of CEH will be anti-atherogenic. Increased CEH expression in the liver significantly increased the flux of HDL-CE to bile acids. In the LDLR(-/-) background, this enhanced elimination of cholesterol led to attenuation of diet-induced atherosclerosis with a consistent increase in fecal sterol secretion primarily as bile acids. Taken together with the observed reduction in atherosclerosis by increasing macrophage CEH-mediated cholesterol efflux, these studies establish CEH as an important regulator in enhancing cholesterol elimination and also as an anti-atherogenic target.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Atherogenic dyslipidemia is highly associated with coronary heart disease and is characterized by elevated triglycerides (TG), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The combination of statins and fibrates is a common modality to treat individuals with atherogenic dyslipidemia. We sought to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with HDL-C, TG, and apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA-I) response to combination therapy with statins and fenofibric acid (FA) in individuals with atherogenic dyslipidemia. METHODS:2228 individuals with mixed dyslipidemia who were participating in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled study comparing FA alone, in combination with a statin, or statin alone for a 12-week period, were genotyped for 304 candidate SNPs. A multivariate linear regression analysis for percent change in HDL-C, ApoA-I and TG levels was performed. RESULTS:SNPs in the apolipoprotein (APO) A5-ZNF259 region rs3741298 (P = 1.8 × 10(-7)), rs964184 (P = 3.6 × 10(-6)), rs651821 (P = 4.5 × 10(-5)), and rs10750097 (P = 1 × 10(-4)), were significantly associated with HDL-C response to combination therapy with statins and FA, with a similar association identified for ApoA-I. A haplotype composed of the minor alleles of SNPs rs3741298, rs964184, and rs10750097, was associated with a positive response to statins and FA (P = 8.7 × 10(-7)) and had a frequency of 18% in the study population. CONCLUSION:In a population with atherogenic dyslipidemia, common SNPs and haplotypes within the APOA5-ZNF259 region are highly associated with HDL-C and ApoA-I response to combination therapy with statins and FA.