Effect of macrophage-derived apolipoprotein E on hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis of LDLR-deficient mice

Weibin Shi, Xuping Wang, Jack Wong, Catherine C Hedrick, Howard Wong, Lawrence W Castellani, Aldons J Lusis
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2004 April 23, 317 (1): 223-9
LDL receptor-deficient (LDLR(-/-)) mice fed a Western diet exhibit severe hyperlipidemia and develop significant atherosclerosis. Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is a multifunctional protein synthesized by hepatocytes and macrophages. We sought to determine effect of macrophage apoE deficiency on severe hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. Female LDLR(-/-) mice were lethally irradiated and reconstituted with bone marrow from either apoE(-/-) or apoE(+/+) mice. Four weeks after transplantation, recipient mice were fed a Western diet for 8 weeks. Reconstitution of LDLR(-/-) mice with apoE(-/-) bone marrow resulted in a slight reduction in plasma apoE levels and a dramatic reduction in accumulation of apoE and apoB in the aortic wall. Plasma lipid levels were unaffected when mice had mild hyperlipidemia on a chow diet, whereas IDL/LDL cholesterol levels were significantly reduced when mice developed severe hyperlipidemia on the Western diet. The hepatic VLDL production rate of mice on the Western diet was decreased by 46% as determined by injection of Triton WR1339 to block VLDL clearance. Atherosclerotic lesions in the proximal aorta were significantly reduced, partially due to reduction in plasma total cholesterol levels (r=0.56; P<0.0001). Thus, macrophage apoE-deficiency alleviates severe hyperlipidemia by slowing hepatic VLDL production and consequently reduces atherosclerosis in LDLR(-/-) mice.

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