The long-term effect of angiotensin II type 1a receptor deficiency on hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis

Hideyuki Eto, Masaaki Miyata, Takahiro Shirasawa, Yuichi Akasaki, Narisato Hamada, Aya Nagaki, Koji Orihara, Sadatoshi Biro, Chuwa Tei
Hypertension Research: Official Journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension 2008, 31 (8): 1631-42
Angiotensin II type 1 receptor may contribute to atherogenesis by facilitating the proliferative and inflammatory response to hypercholesterolemia. In the present study, we investigated the long-term effect of angiotensin II type 1a receptor (AT1a) deficiency on hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis by the use of AT1a-knockout (AT1a-KO) mice and apolipoprotein E-knockout (apoE-KO) mice. AT1a-KO were crossed with apoE-KO, generating double-knockout (D-KO) mice. Mice were fed a standard diet and analyzed at 25- or 60-weeks-old. The quantification of atherosclerotic volume in the aortic root revealed that the atherosclerotic lesions of D-KO mice were significantly smaller than those of apoE-KO mice at 25-week-old (0.81+/-0.16 mm2 vs. 1.05+/-0.21 mm2, p<0.001) and at 60-week-old (0.89+/-0.11 mm2 vs. 2.44+/-0.28 mm2, p<0.001). Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in atherosclerotic lesion size of D-KO mice at 25- and 60-week-old, suggesting that AT1a deficiency completely protected against the age-related progression of atherosclerosis. The amounts of collagen and elastin, the expression of p22phox, serum amyloid P (SAP), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-9, and the number of apoptotic cells of D-KO mice were lower than those of apoE-KO mice. Furthermore, we confirmed that the expression of procollagen alpha1(I), procollagen alpha1(III), tropoelastin, p22phox, SAP, MMP-2, and MMP-9 decreased in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells from D-KO mice compared with those of apoE-KO mice. In conclusion, AT1a deficiency reduces atherosclerotic lesion size of apoE-KO mice and protects against the age-related progression of atherosclerosis. Reduction of oxidative stress, apoptosis, and MMP expression in atherosclerotic lesions by AT1a deficiency may contribute to plaque size.

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