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BACKGROUND - We previously showed that mice lacking MΦLRP1 (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 in macrophages) undergo accelerated atherosclerotic plaque formation due to changes in macrophages including increased apoptosis, decreased efferocytosis, and exaggerated transition to the inflammatory M1 phenotype. Here we sought to explore the role of macrophage low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 during regression of atherosclerosis since regressing plaques are characterized by transitioning of macrophages to M2 status as inflammation resolves.
METHODS - Apolipoprotein E mice on a high-fat diet for 12 weeks were reconstituted with bone marrow from apolipoprotein E-producing wild-type or MΦLRP1 mice, and then placed on a chow diet for 10 weeks (n=9 to 11 mice/group). A cohort of apolipoprotein E mice reconstituted with apolipoprotein E bone marrow served as baseline controls (n=9).
RESULTS - Plaques of both wild-type and MΦLRP1 bone marrow recipients regressed compared with controls (11% and 22%, respectively; P<0.05), and plaques of MΦLRP1 recipients were 13% smaller than those of wild-type recipients ( P<0.05). Recipients of MΦLRP1 marrow had 36% fewer M1 macrophages ( P<0.01) and 2.5-fold more CCR7 (C-C chemokine receptor type 7)-positive macrophages in the plaque relative to wild-type mice ( P<0.01). Additionally, in vivo studies of cellular egress showed a 4.6-fold increase in 5-ethynyl-2´-deoxyuridine-labeled CCR7 macrophages in mediastinal lymph nodes. Finally, in vivo studies of reverse cholesterol transport showed a 1.4-fold higher reverse cholesterol transport in MΦLRP1 recipient mice ( P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS - Absence of macrophage low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 unexpectedly accelerates atherosclerosis regression, enhances reverse cholesterol transport, and increases expression of the motility receptor CCR7, which drives macrophage egress from lesions.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS - There is strong evidence that fat accumulating in non-adipose sites, "ectopic fat", is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including vascular calcification. Most previous studies of this association have assessed only a single ectopic fat depot. Therefore, our aim was to assess the association of total, regional, and ectopic fat with abdominal aorto-illiac calcification (AAC) and coronary artery calcification (CAC) in 798 African ancestry men.
METHODS - Participants (mean age 62) were from the Tobago Bone Health Study cohort. Adiposity was assessed via clinical examination, dual x-ray absorptiometry, and computed tomography (CT). Ectopic fat depots included: abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT), liver attenuation, and calf intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT). Vascular calcification was assessed by CT and quantified as present versus absent. Associations were tested using multiple logistic regression adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Models of ectopic fat were additionally adjusted for total body fat and standing height.
RESULTS - All adiposity measures, except VAT, were associated with AAC. Lower liver attenuation or greater calf IMAT was associated with 1.2-1.3-fold increased odds of AAC (p < 0.03 for both), though calf IMAT was a stronger predictor than liver attenuation (p < 0.001) when entered in a single model. No ectopic fat measure was associated with CAC.
CONCLUSIONS - Greater adiposity in the skeletal muscle and liver, but not in the visceral compartment, was associated with increased odds of AAC in African ancestry men. These results highlight the potential importance of both quantity and location of adiposity accumulation throughout the body.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
CONTEXT - Relative to European Americans, calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CP) is less prevalent and severe in African-Americans (AAs).
OBJECTIVE - Predictors of progression of CP in the aorta, carotid, and coronary arteries were examined in AAs over a mean 5.3 ± 1.4-year interval.
DESIGN - This is the African American-Diabetes Heart Study.
SETTING - A type 2 diabetes (T2D)-affected cohort was included.
PARTICIPANTS - A total of 300 unrelated AAs with T2D; 50% female, mean age 55 ± 9 years, baseline hemoglobin A1c 8.1 ± 1.8% was included.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES - Glycemic control, renal parameters, vitamin D, and computed tomography-derived measures of adiposity, vascular CP, and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) in lumbar and thoracic vertebrae were obtained at baseline and follow-up.
RESULTS - CP increased in incidence and quantity/mass in all three vascular beds over the 5-year study (P < .0001). Lower baseline lumbar and thoracic vBMD were associated with progression of abdominal aorta CP (P < .008), but not progression of carotid or coronary artery CP. Lower baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate was associated with progression of carotid artery CP (P = .0004), and higher baseline pericardial adipose volume was associated with progression of coronary artery (P = .001) and aorta (P = .0006) CP independent of body mass index. There was a trend for an inverse relationship between change in thoracic vBMD and change in aortic CP (P = .05).
CONCLUSIONS - In this longitudinal study, lower baseline thoracic and lumbar vBMD and estimated glomerular filtration rate and higher pericardial adipose volumes were associated with increases in CP in AAs with T2D. Changes in these variables and baseline levels and/or changes in glycemic control, albuminuria, and vitamin D were not significantly associated with progression of CP.
OBJECTIVE - Antiatherosclerotic effects of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) blockade in patients with systemic inflammatory states are not conclusively demonstrated, which suggests that effects depend on the cause of inflammation. Macrophage LRP1 (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1) and apoE contribute to inflammation through different pathways. We studied the antiatherosclerosis effects of TNF-α blockade in hyperlipidemic mice lacking either LRP1 (MΦLRP1(-/-)) or apoE from macrophages.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Lethally irradiated low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR)(-/-) mice were reconstituted with bone marrow from either wild-type, MΦLRP1(-/-), apoE(-/-) or apoE(-/-)/MΦLRP1(-/-)(DKO) mice, and then treated with the TNF-α inhibitor adalimumab while fed a Western-type diet. Adalimumab reduced plasma TNF-α concentration, suppressed blood ly6C(hi) monocyte levels and their migration into the lesion, and reduced lesion cellularity and inflammation in both wild-type→LDLR(-/-) and apoE(-/-)→LDLR(-/-) mice. Overall, adalimumab reduced lesion burden by 52% to 57% in these mice. Adalimumab reduced TNF-α and blood ly6C(hi) monocyte levels in MΦLRP1(-/-)→LDLR(-/-) and DKO→LDLR(-/-) mice, but it did not suppress ly6C(hi) monocyte migration into the lesion or atherosclerosis progression.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results show that TNF-α blockade exerts antiatherosclerotic effects that are dependent on the presence of macrophage LRP1.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
OBJECTIVE - Studies have reported mixed findings on the association between physical activity and subclinical atherosclerosis. We sought to examine whether walking is associated with prevalent coronary artery calcification (CAC) and aortic calcification.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - In a cross-sectional design, we studied 2971 participants of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study without a history of myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting, or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. A standardized questionnaire was used to ascertain the number of blocks walked daily to compute walking metabolic equivalent hours. CAC was measured by cardiac computed tomography. We defined prevalent CAC and aortic calcification using an Agatston score of at least 100 and used generalized estimating equations to calculate adjusted prevalence ratios. Mean age was 55 years, and 60% of participants were women. Compared with the ≤3.75-Met-h/wk group, prevalence ratios for CAC after adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking, alcohol use, total physical activity (excluding walking), and familial clustering were 0.53 (95% confidence interval, 0.35-0.79) for >3.75 to 7.5 Met-h/wk, 0.72 (95% confidence interval, 0.52-0.99) for >7.5 to 15 Met-h/wk, and 0.54 (95% confidence interval, 0.36-0.81) for >15 to 22.5 Met-h/wk, (P trend=0.01). The walking-CAC relationship remained significant for those with body mass index ≥25 (P trend=0.02) and persisted with CAC cutoffs of 300, 200, 150, and 50 but not 0. When examined as a continuous variable, a J-shaped association between walking and CAC was found. The walking-aortic calcification association was not significant.
CONCLUSIONS - Our findings suggest that walking is associated with lower prevalent CAC (but not aortic calcification) in adults without known heart disease.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
OBJECTIVE - The c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK) are regulated by a wide variety of cellular stresses and have been implicated in apoptotic signaling. Macrophages express 2 JNK isoforms, JNK1 and JNK2, which may have different effects on cell survival and atherosclerosis.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - To dissect the effect of macrophage JNK1 and JNK2 on early atherosclerosis, Ldlr(-/-) mice were reconstituted with wild-type, Jnk1(-/-), and Jnk2(-/-) hematopoietic cells and fed a high cholesterol diet. Jnk1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-) mice have larger atherosclerotic lesions with more macrophages and fewer apoptotic cells than mice transplanted with wild-type or Jnk2(-/-) cells. Moreover, genetic ablation of JNK to a single allele (Jnk1(+/-)/Jnk2(-/-) or Jnk1(-/-)/Jnk2(+/-)) in marrow of Ldlr(-/-) recipients further increased atherosclerosis compared with Jnk1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-) and wild-type→Ldlr(-/-) mice. In mouse macrophages, anisomycin-mediated JNK signaling antagonized Akt activity, and loss of Jnk1 gene obliterated this effect. Similarly, pharmacological inhibition of JNK1, but not JNK2, markedly reduced the antagonizing effect of JNK on Akt activity. Prolonged JNK signaling in the setting of endoplasmic reticulum stress gradually extinguished Akt and Bad activity in wild-type cells with markedly less effects in Jnk1(-/-) macrophages, which were also more resistant to apoptosis. Consequently, anisomycin increased and JNK1 inhibitors suppressed endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis in macrophages. We also found that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of phosphatase and tensin homolog abolished the JNK-mediated effects on Akt activity, indicating that phosphatase and tensin homolog mediates crosstalk between these pathways.
CONCLUSIONS - Loss of Jnk1, but not Jnk2, in macrophages protects them from apoptosis, increasing cell survival, and this accelerates early atherosclerosis.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - We explored whether, the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) coronary and abdominal risk scores measured at 18 to 30 years of age and changes in these scores would more strongly predict coronary artery calcium (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcium (AAC) assessed 25 years later, than scores measured 25 years later.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, 3008 participants had measurements of risk score components at 5-year intervals beginning at 18 to 30 years of age. CAC and AAC were assessed at 43 to 55 years of age. Odds ratios (ORs) for the presence and extent of CAC/AAC per/point higher score and c-statistics for predicting CAC/AAC were calculated. The prevalence of CAC was 28% and AAC was 53%. For each 1 point higher PDAY score, the odds of CAC were higher using baseline scores than year 25 scores (OR, 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25-1.33 versus OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.11-1.14). For AAC, ORs at years 0 and 25 were similar (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.24-1.34 versus OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.19-1.26). C-statistic for CAC prediction was higher at year 0 than year 25 (0.731 versus 0.705) but similar at years 0 and 25 for AAC (0.665 versus 0.670). ORs for CAC were highest at baseline, and, for AAC, ORs were highest at year 10. Including change in PDAY scores with baseline scores improved prediction.
CONCLUSIONS - Atherosclerosis risk and change in risk assessed in young adulthood years before subclinical atherosclerosis imaging provide strong prediction of future subclinical atherosclerosis. CAC and AAC reflect chronic risk exposure in addition to risk measured at the time of study.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
Various hypertensive stimuli lead to exuberant adventitial collagen deposition in large arteries, exacerbating blood pressure elevation and end-organ damage. Collagen production is generally attributed to resident fibroblasts; however, other cells, including resident and bone marrow-derived stem cell antigen positive (Sca-1(+)) cells and endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells, can produce collagen and contribute to vascular stiffening. Using flow cytometry and immunofluorescence, we found that adventitial Sca-1(+) progenitor cells begin to produce collagen and acquire a fibroblast-like phenotype in hypertension. We also found that bone marrow-derived cells represent more than half of the matrix-producing cells in hypertension, and that one-third of these are Sca-1(+). Cell sorting and lineage-tracing studies showed that cells of endothelial origin contribute to no more than one fourth of adventitial collagen I(+) cells, whereas those of vascular smooth muscle lineage do not contribute. Our findings indicate that Sca-1(+) progenitor cells and bone marrow-derived infiltrating fibrocytes are major sources of arterial fibrosis in hypertension. Endothelial to mesenchymal transition likely also contributes, albeit to a lesser extent and pre-existing resident fibroblasts represent a minority of aortic collagen-producing cells in hypertension. This study shows that vascular stiffening represents a complex process involving recruitment and transformation of multiple cells types that ultimately elaborate adventitial extracellular matrix.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
OBJECTIVE - Chronic kidney disease (CKD) amplifies atherosclerosis, which involves renin-angiotensin system (RAS) regulation of macrophages. RAS influences peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), a modulator of atherogenic functions of macrophages, however, little is known about its effects in CKD. We examined the impact of combined therapy with a PPARγ agonist and angiotensin receptor blocker on atherogenesis in a murine uninephrectomy model.
METHODS - Apolipoprotein E knockout mice underwent uninephrectomy (UNx) and treatment with pioglitazone (UNx + Pio), losartan (UNx + Los), or both (UNx + Pio/Los) for 10 weeks. Extent and characteristics of atherosclerotic lesions and macrophage phenotypes were assessed; RAW264.7 and primary peritoneal mouse cells were used to examine pioglitazone and losartan effects on macrophage phenotype and inflammatory response.
RESULTS - UNx significantly increased atherosclerosis. Pioglitazone and losartan each significantly reduced the atherosclerotic burden by 29.6% and 33.5%, respectively; although the benefit was dramatically augmented by combination treatment which lessened atherosclerosis by 55.7%. Assessment of plaques revealed significantly greater macrophage area in UNx + Pio/Los (80.7 ± 11.4% vs. 50.3 ± 4.2% in UNx + Pio and 57.2 ± 6.5% in UNx + Los) with more apoptotic cells. The expanded macrophage-rich lesions of UNx + Pio/Los had more alternatively activated, Ym-1 and arginine 1-positive M2 phenotypes (Ym-1: 33.6 ± 8.2%, p < 0.05 vs. 12.0 ± 1.1% in UNx; arginase 1: 27.8 ± 0.9%, p < 0.05 vs. 11.8 ± 1.3% in UNx). In vitro, pioglitazone alone and together with losartan was more effective than losartan alone in dampening lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine production, suppressing M1 phenotypic change while enhancing M2 phenotypic change.
CONCLUSION - Combination of pioglitazone and losartan is more effective in reducing renal injury-induced atherosclerosis than either treatment alone. This benefit reflects mitigation in macrophage cytokine production, enhanced apoptosis, and a shift toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an obesity-related condition associated with cardiovascular mortality. Yet, whether or not NAFLD is independently related to atherosclerosis is unclear. In a population-based cross-sectional sample of middle-aged adults free from liver or heart disease, we tested the hypothesis that NAFLD is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis (coronary artery (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC)) independent of obesity.
METHODS - Participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study with CT quantification of liver fat, CAC and AAC were included (n = 2424). NAFLD was defined as liver attenuation ≤40 Hounsfield Units after exclusion of other causes of liver fat. CAC and AAC presence was defined as Agatston score >0.
RESULTS - Mean participant age was 50.1 ± 3.6 years, (42.7% men, 50.0% black) and BMI was 30.6 ± 7.2 kg/m(2). The prevalence of NAFLD, CAC, and AAC was 9.6%, 27.1%, and 51.4%. NAFLD participants had increased prevalence of CAC (37.9% vs. 26.0%, p < 0.001) and AAC (65.1% vs. 49.9%, p < 0.001). NAFLD remained associated with CAC (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.001-1.82) and AAC (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.29-2.35) after adjustment for demographics and health behaviors. However, these associations were attenuated after additional adjustment for visceral adipose tissue (CAC OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.74-1.48, AAC OR = 1.20; 95% CI, 0.86-1.67). There was no interaction by race or sex.
CONCLUSION - In contrast to prior research, these findings suggest that obesity attenuates the relationship between NAFLD and subclinical atherosclerosis. Further studies evaluating the role of NAFLD duration on atherosclerotic progression and cardiovascular events are needed.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.