Macrophage deficiency of Akt2 reduces atherosclerosis in Ldlr null mice.
ABSTRACT: Macrophages play crucial roles in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions. Akt, a serine/threonine protein kinase B, is vital for cell proliferation, migration, and survival. Macrophages express three Akt isoforms, Akt1, Akt2, and Akt3, but the roles of Akt1 and Akt2 in atherosclerosis in vivo remain unclear. To dissect the impact of macrophage Akt1 and Akt2 on early atherosclerosis, we generated mice with hematopoietic deficiency of Akt1 or Akt2. After 8 weeks on Western diet, Ldlr(-/-) mice reconstituted with Akt1(-/-) fetal liver cells (Akt1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-)) had similar atherosclerotic lesion areas compared with control mice transplanted with WT cells (WT?Ldlr(-/-)). In contrast, Akt2(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice had dramatically reduced atherosclerotic lesions compared with WT?Ldlr(-/-) mice of both genders. Similarly, in the setting of advanced atherosclerotic lesions, Akt2(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice had smaller aortic lesions compared with WT?Ldlr(-/-) and Akt1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice. Importantly, Akt2(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice had reduced numbers of proinflammatory blood monocytes expressing Ly-6C(hi) and chemokine C-C motif receptor 2. Peritoneal macrophages isolated from Akt2(-/-) mice were skewed toward an M2 phenotype and showed decreased expression of proinflammatory genes and reduced cell migration. Our data demonstrate that loss of Akt2 suppresses the ability of macrophages to undergo M1 polarization reducing both early and advanced atherosclerosis.
Project description:Objective- Macrophages express 3 Akt (protein kinase B) isoforms, Akt1, Akt2, and Akt3, which display isoform-specific functions but may be redundant in terms of Akt survival signaling. We hypothesize that loss of 2 Akt isoforms in macrophages will suppress their ability to survive and modulate the development of atherosclerosis. Approach and Results- To test this hypothesis, we reconstituted male Ldlr-/- mice with double Akt2/Akt3 knockout hematopoietic cells expressing only the Akt1 isoform (Akt1only). There were no differences in body weight and plasma lipid levels between the groups after 8 weeks of the Western diet; however, Akt1only? Ldlr-/- mice developed smaller (57.6% reduction) atherosclerotic lesions with more apoptotic macrophages than control mice transplanted with WT (wild type) cells. Next, male and female Ldlr-/- mice were reconstituted with double Akt1/Akt2 knockout hematopoietic cells expressing the Akt3 isoform (Akt3only). Female and male Akt3only? Ldlr-/- recipients had significantly smaller (61% and 41%, respectively) lesions than the control WT? Ldlr-/- mice. Loss of 2 Akt isoforms in hematopoietic cells resulted in markedly diminished levels of white blood cells, B cells, and monocytes and compromised viability of monocytes and peritoneal macrophages compared with WT cells. In response to lipopolysaccharides, macrophages with a single Akt isoform expressed low levels of inflammatory cytokines; however, Akt1only macrophages were distinct in expressing high levels of antiapoptotic Il10 compared with WT and Akt3only cells. Conclusions- Loss of 2 Akt isoforms in hematopoietic cells, preserving only a single Akt1 or Akt3 isoform, markedly compromises monocyte and macrophage viability and diminishes early atherosclerosis in Ldlr-/- mice.
Project description:Atherosclerosis is the major cause of death and disability in diabetic and obese subjects with insulin resistance. Akt2, a phosphoinositide-dependent serine-threonine protein kinase, is highly express in insulin-responsive tissues; however, its role during the progression of atherosclerosis remains unknown. Thus, we aimed to investigate the contribution of Akt2 during the progression of atherosclerosis. We found that germ-line Akt2-deficient mice develop similar atherosclerotic plaques as wild-type mice despite higher plasma lipids and glucose levels. It is noteworthy that transplantation of bone marrow cells isolated from Akt2(-/-) mice to Ldlr(-/-) mice results in marked reduction of the progression of atherosclerosis compared with Ldlr(-/-) mice transplanted with wild-type bone marrow cells. In vitro studies indicate that Akt2 is required for macrophage migration in response to proatherogenic cytokines (monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and macrophage colony-stimulating factor). Moreover, Akt2(-/-) macrophages accumulate less cholesterol and have an alternative activated or M2-type phenotype when stimulated with proinflammatory cytokines. Together, these results provide evidence that macrophage Akt2 regulates migration, the inflammatory response and cholesterol metabolism and suggest that targeting Akt2 in macrophages might be beneficial for treating atherosclerosis.
Project description:The adipocyte/macrophage fatty acid-binding proteins aP2 (FABP4) and Mal1 (FABP5) are intracellular lipid chaperones that modulate systemic glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and atherosclerosis. Combined deficiency of aP2 and Mal1 has been shown to reduce the development of atherosclerosis, but the independent role of macrophage Mal1 expression in atherogenesis remains unclear.We transplanted wild-type (WT), Mal1(-/-), or aP2(-/-) bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein receptor-null (LDLR(-/-)) mice and fed them a Western diet for 8 weeks. Mal1(-/-)?LDLR(-/-) mice had significantly reduced (36%) atherosclerosis in the proximal aorta compared with control WT?LDLR(-/-) mice. Interestingly, peritoneal macrophages isolated from Mal1-deficient mice displayed increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR?) activity and upregulation of a PPAR?-related cholesterol trafficking gene, CD36. Mal1(-/-) macrophages showed suppression of inflammatory genes, such as COX2 and interleukin 6. Mal1(-/-)?LDLR(-/-) mice had significantly decreased macrophage numbers in the aortic atherosclerotic lesions compared with WT?LDLR(-/-) mice, suggesting that monocyte recruitment may be impaired. Indeed, blood monocytes isolated from Mal1(-/-)?LDLR(-/-) mice on a high-fat diet had decreased CC chemokine receptor 2 gene and protein expression levels compared with WT monocytes.Taken together, our results demonstrate that Mal1 plays a proatherogenic role by suppressing PPAR? activity, which increases expression of CC chemokine receptor 2 by monocytes, promoting their recruitment to atherosclerotic lesions.
Project description:RATIONALE:Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS)2 contributes to de novo sphingomyelin (SM) biosynthesis and plasma membrane SM levels. SMS2 deficiency in macrophages diminishes nuclear factor kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation induced by inflammatory stimuli. OBJECTIVE:The effects of SMS2 deficiency on the development of atherosclerosis are investigated. METHODS AND RESULTS:We measured cholesterol efflux from macrophages of wild-type (WT) and SMS2 knockout (KO) mice. We transplanted SMS2 KO mouse bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (LDLr) knockout mice (SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-)), creating a mouse model of SMS2 deficiency in the macrophages. We found that SMS2 deficiency caused significant induction of cholesterol efflux in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we found that SMS2 KO mice had less interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha in the circulation before and after endotoxin stimulation, compared with controls. More importantly, after 3 months on a western-type diet, SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice showed decreased atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch, root (57%, P<0.001), and the entire aorta (42%, P<0.01), compared with WT-->LDLr(-/-) mice. Analysis of plaque morphology revealed that SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice had significantly less necrotic core area (71%, P<0.001), less macrophage content (37%, P<0.01), and more collagen content (35%, P<0.05) in atherosclerotic lesions. We also found that SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice had significantly lower free cholesterol and cholesteryl ester levels in the brachiocephalic artery than WT-->LDLr(-/-) mice (33 and 52%, P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:SMS2 deficiency in the macrophages reduces atherosclerosis in mice. Macrophage SMS2 is thus a potential therapeutic target for treatment of this disease.
Project description:Although vitamin D has been implicated in cardiovascular protection, few studies have addressed the role of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in atherosclerosis. Here we investigate the effect of inactivation of the VDR signaling on atherogenesis and the antiatherosclerotic mechanism of vitamin D. Low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR)(-/-)/VDR(-/-) mice exhibited site-specific accelerated atherogenesis, accompanied by increases in adhesion molecules and proinflammatory cytokines in the aorta and cholesterol influx in macrophages. Macrophages showed marked renin up-regulation in the absence of VDR, and inhibition of renin by aliskiren reduced atherosclerosis in LDLR(-/-)/VDR(-/-) mice, suggesting that the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) promotes atherosclerosis in the absence of VDR. LDLR(-/-) mice receiving LDLR(-/-)/VDR(-/-) BMT developed larger lesions than LDLR(-/-) BMT controls. Moreover, LDLR(-/-) mice receiving Rag-1(-/-)/VDR(-/-) BMT, which were unable to generate functional T and B lymphocytes, still had more severe atherosclerosis than Rag-1(-/-) BMT controls, suggesting a critical role of macrophage VDR signaling in atherosclerotic suppression. Aliskiren treatment eliminated the difference in lesions between Rag-1(-/-)/VDR(-/-) BMT and Rag-1(-/-) BMT recipients, indicating that local RAS activation in macrophages contributes to the enhanced atherogenesis seen in Rag-1(-/-)/VDR(-/-) BMT mice. Taken together, these observations provide evidence that macrophage VDR signaling, in part by suppressing the local RAS, inhibits atherosclerosis in mice.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Progranulin is a circulating protein that modulates inflammation and is found in atherosclerotic lesions. Here we determined whether inflammatory cell-derived progranulin impacts atherosclerosis development. METHODS:Ldlr-/- mice were transplanted with bone marrow from wild-type (WT) or Grn-/- (progranulin KO) mice (referred to as Tx-WT and Tx-KO, respectively). RESULTS:After 10 weeks of high-fat diet feeding, both groups displayed similarly elevated plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Despite abundant circulating levels of progranulin, the size of atherosclerotic lesions in Tx-KO mice was increased by 47% in aortic roots and by 62% in whole aortas. Aortic root lesions in Tx-KO mice had increased macrophage content and larger necrotic cores, consistent with more advanced lesions. Progranulin staining was markedly reduced in the lesions of Tx-KO mice, indicating little or no uptake of circulating progranulin. Mechanistically, cultured progranulin-deficient macrophages exhibited increased lysosome-mediated exophagy of aggregated low-density lipoproteins resulting in increased cholesterol uptake and foam cell formation. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that hematopoietic progranulin deficiency promotes diet-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr-/- mice, possibly due to increased exophagy-mediated cholesterol uptake. Circulating progranulin was unable to prevent the increased lesion development, consistent with the importance of progranulin acting via cell-autonomous or local effects.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Platelets are important for the development and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. However, relatively little is known about the contribution of platelet signaling to this pathological process. Our recent work identified 2 independent, yet synergistic, signaling pathways that lead to the activation of the small GTPase Rap1; one mediated by the guanine nucleotide exchange factor, CalDAG-GEFI (CDGI), the other by P2Y12, a platelet receptor for adenosine diphosphate and the target of antiplatelet drugs. In this study, we evaluated lesion formation in atherosclerosis-prone low-density lipoprotein receptor deficient (Ldlr(-/-)) mice lacking CDGI or P2Y12 in hematopoietic cells. APPROACH AND RESULTS:Lethally irradiated Ldlr(-/-) mice were reconstituted with bone marrow from wild-type (WT), Caldaggef1(-/-) (cdgI(-/-)), p2y12(-/-), or cdgI(-/-)p2y12(-/-) (double knockout [DKO]) mice and fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Ldlr(-/-) chimeras deficient for CDGI or P2Y12 developed significantly smaller atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic sinus and in aortas when compared with the Ldlr(-/-)/WT controls. We also observed a significant reduction in platelet-leukocyte aggregates in blood from hypercholesterolemic Ldlr(-/-)/cdgI(-/-) and Ldlr(-/-)/p2y12(-/-) chimeras. Consistently, fewer macrophages and neutrophils were detected in the aortic sinus of Ldlr(-/-)/cdgI(-/-) and Ldlr(-/-)/ p2y12(-/-) chimeras. Compared with controls, the plaque collagen content was significantly higher in Ldlr(-/-) chimeras lacking CDGI. Interestingly, no statistically significant additive effects were seen in Ldlr(-/-)/DKO chimeras when compared with chimeras lacking only CDGI. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that CDGI is critical for atherosclerotic plaque development in hypercholesterolemic Ldlr(-/-) mice because of its contribution to platelet-leukocyte aggregate formation and leukocyte recruitment to the lesion area.
Project description:Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease regulated by infiltrating monocytes and T cells, among other cell types. Macrophage recruitment to atherosclerotic lesions is controlled by monocyte infiltration into plaques. Once in the lesion, macrophage proliferation in situ, apoptosis, and differentiation to an inflammatory (M1) or anti-inflammatory phenotype (M2) are involved in progression to advanced atherosclerotic lesions. We studied the role of phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) p110? in the regulation of in situ apoptosis, macrophage proliferation and polarization towards M1 or M2 phenotypes in atherosclerotic lesions. We analyzed atherosclerosis development in LDLR(-/-)p110?(+/-) and LDLR(-/-)p110?(-/-) mice, and performed expression and functional assays in tissues and primary cells from these and from p110?(+/-) and p110?(-/-) mice. Lack of p110? in LDLR(-/-) mice reduces the atherosclerosis burden. Atherosclerotic lesions in fat-fed LDLR(-/-)p110?(-/-) mice were smaller than in LDLR(-/-)p110?(+/-) controls, which coincided with decreased macrophage proliferation in LDLR(-/-)p110?(-/-) mouse lesions. This proliferation defect was also observed in p110?(-/-) bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMM) stimulated with macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), and was associated with higher intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels. In contrast, T cell proliferation was unaffected in LDLR(-/-)p110?(-/-) mice. Moreover, p110? deficiency did not affect macrophage polarization towards the M1 or M2 phenotypes or apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques, or polarization in cultured BMM. Our results suggest that higher cAMP levels and the ensuing inhibition of macrophage proliferation contribute to atheroprotection in LDLR(-/-) mice lacking p110?. Nonetheless, p110? deletion does not appear to be involved in apoptosis, in macrophage polarization or in T cell proliferation.
Project description:A variety of benzylidenethiazole analogs have been demonstrated to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Here we report the anti-atherogenic potential of 5-(4-hydroxy- 2,3,5-trimethylbenzylidene) thiazolidin-2,4-dione (HMB-TZD), a benzylidenethiazole analog, and its potential mechanism of action in LDL receptor-deficient (Ldlr-/-) mice. HMB-TZD Treatment reduced leukotriene B4 (LTB4) production significantly in RAW264.7 macrophages and SVEC4-10 endothelial cells. Macrophages or endothelial cells pre-incubated with HMB-TZD for 2 h and then stimulated with lipopolysaccharide or tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) displayed reduced cytokine production. Also, HMB-TZD reduced cell migration and adhesion in accordance with decreased proinflammatory molecule production in vitro and ex vivo. HMB-TZD treatment of 8-week-old male Ldlr-/- mice resulted in significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesions without a change to plasma lipid profiles. Moreover, aortic expression of pro-atherogenic molecules involved in the recruitment of monocytes to the aortic wall, including TNF-? , MCP-1, and VCAM-1, was downregulated. HMB-TZD also reduced macrophage infiltration into atherosclerotic lesions. In conclusion, HMB-TZD ameliorates atherosclerotic lesion formation possibly by reducing the expression of proinflammatory molecules and monocyte/macrophage recruitment to the lesion. These results suggest that HMB-TZD, and benzylidenethiazole analogs in general, may have therapeutic potential as treatments for atherosclerosis.
Project description:Mechanisms of atherogenesis have been studied extensively in genetically engineered mice with disturbed cholesterol metabolism such as those lacking either the LDL receptor (Ldlr) or apolipoprotein E (apoe). Few other animal models of atherosclerosis are available. WT rabbits or rats, even on high-fat or high-cholesterol diets, develop sparse atherosclerotic lesions. We examined the effects of Ldlr deletion on lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerotic lesion formation in Sprague-Dawley rats. Deletion of Ldlr resulted in the loss of the LDLR protein and caused a significant increase in plasma total cholesterol and triglycerides. On normal chow, Ldlr-KO rats gained more weight and were more glucose intolerant than WT rats. Plasma proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9) and leptin levels were higher and adiponectin levels were lower in KO than WT rats. On the Western diet, the KO rats displayed exaggerated obesity and age-dependent increases in glucose intolerance. No appreciable aortic lesions were observed in KO rats fed normal chow for 64 weeks or Western diet for 16 weeks; however, after 34-52 weeks of Western diet, the KO rats developed exuberant atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch and throughout the abdominal aorta. The Ldlr-KO rat may be a useful model for studying obesity, insulin resistance, and early-stage atherosclerosis.