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RATIONALE - Atherosclerosis is, in part, caused by immune and inflammatory cell infiltration into the vascular wall, leading to enhanced inflammation and lipid accumulation in the aortic endothelium. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying this disease is critical for the development of new therapies. Our recent studies demonstrate that epsins, a family of ubiquitin-binding endocytic adaptors, are critical regulators of atherogenicity. Given the fundamental contribution lesion macrophages make to fuel atherosclerosis, whether and how myeloid-specific epsins promote atherogenesis is an open and significant question.
OBJECTIVE - We will determine the role of myeloid-specific epsins in regulating lesion macrophage function during atherosclerosis.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We engineered myeloid cell-specific epsins double knockout mice (LysM-DKO) on an ApoE background. On Western diet, these mice exhibited marked decrease in atherosclerotic lesion formation, diminished immune and inflammatory cell content in aortas, and reduced necrotic core content but increased smooth muscle cell content in aortic root sections. Epsins deficiency hindered foam cell formation and suppressed proinflammatory macrophage phenotype but increased efferocytosis and anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype in primary macrophages. Mechanistically, we show that epsin loss specifically increased total and surface levels of LRP-1 (LDLR [low-density lipoprotein receptor]-related protein 1), an efferocytosis receptor with antiatherosclerotic properties. We further show that epsin and LRP-1 interact via epsin's ubiquitin-interacting motif domain. ox-LDL (oxidized LDL) treatment increased LRP-1 ubiquitination, subsequent binding to epsin, and its internalization from the cell surface, suggesting that epsins promote the ubiquitin-dependent internalization and downregulation of LRP-1. Crossing ApoE/LysM-DKO mice onto an LRP-1 heterozygous background restored, in part, atherosclerosis, suggesting that epsin-mediated LRP-1 downregulation in macrophages plays a pivotal role in propelling atherogenesis.
CONCLUSIONS - Myeloid epsins promote atherogenesis by facilitating proinflammatory macrophage recruitment and inhibiting efferocytosis in part by downregulating LRP-1, implicating that targeting epsins in macrophages may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy to treat atherosclerosis.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of amyloid-β 42 (Aβ42) and tau have been evaluated as endophenotypes in Alzheimer's disease (AD) genetic studies. Although there are sex differences in AD risk, sex differences have not been evaluated in genetic studies of AD endophenotypes. We performed sex-stratified and sex interaction genetic analyses of CSF biomarkers to identify sex-specific associations. Data came from a previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of CSF Aβ42 and tau (1527 males, 1509 females). We evaluated sex interactions at previous loci, performed sex-stratified GWAS to identify sex-specific associations, and evaluated sex interactions at sex-specific GWAS loci. We then evaluated sex-specific associations between prefrontal cortex (PFC) gene expression at relevant loci and autopsy measures of plaques and tangles using data from the Religious Orders Study and Rush Memory and Aging Project. In Aβ42, we observed sex interactions at one previous and one novel locus: rs316341 within SERPINB1 (p = 0.04) and rs13115400 near LINC00290 (p = 0.002). These loci showed stronger associations among females (β = - 0.03, p = 4.25 × 10; β = 0.03, p = 3.97 × 10) than males (β = - 0.02, p = 0.009; β = 0.01, p = 0.20). Higher levels of expression of SERPINB1, SERPINB6, and SERPINB9 in PFC was associated with higher levels of amyloidosis among females (corrected p values < 0.02) but not males (p > 0.38). In total tau, we observed a sex interaction at a previous locus, rs1393060 proximal to GMNC (p = 0.004), driven by a stronger association among females (β = 0.05, p = 4.57 × 10) compared to males (β = 0.02, p = 0.03). There was also a sex-specific association between rs1393060 and tangle density at autopsy (p = 0.047; p = 0.96), and higher levels of expression of two genes within this locus were associated with lower tangle density among females (OSTN p = 0.006; CLDN16 p = 0.002) but not males (p ≥ 0.32). Results suggest a female-specific role for SERPINB1 in amyloidosis and for OSTN and CLDN16 in tau pathology. Sex-specific genetic analyses may improve understanding of AD's genetic architecture.
Importance - The strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, has a stronger association among women compared with men. Yet limited work has evaluated the association between APOE alleles and markers of AD neuropathology in a sex-specific manner.
Objective - To evaluate sex differences in the association between APOE and markers of AD neuropathology measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) during life or in brain tissue at autopsy.
Design, Setting, and Participants - This multicohort study selected data from 10 longitudinal cohort studies of normal aging and AD. Cohorts had variable recruitment criteria and follow-up intervals and included population-based and clinic-based samples. Inclusion in our analysis required APOE genotype data and either CSF data available for analysis. Analyses began on November 6, 2017, and were completed on December 20, 2017.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Biomarker analyses included levels of β-amyloid 42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau measured in CSF. Autopsy analyses included Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease staging for neuritic plaques and Braak staging for neurofibrillary tangles.
Results - Of the 1798 patients in the CSF biomarker cohort, 862 were women, 226 had AD, 1690 were white, and the mean (SD) age was 70  years. Of the 5109 patients in the autopsy cohort, 2813 were women, 4953 were white, and the mean (SD) age was 84 (9) years. After correcting for multiple comparisons using the Bonferroni procedure, we observed a statistically significant interaction between APOE-ε4 and sex on CSF total tau (β = 0.41; 95% CI, 0.27-0.55; P < .001) and phosphorylated tau (β = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.09-0.38; P = .001), whereby APOE showed a stronger association among women compared with men. Post hoc analyses suggested this sex difference was present in amyloid-positive individuals (β = 0.41; 95% CI, 0.20-0.62; P < .001) but not among amyloid-negative individuals (β = 0.06; 95% CI, -0.18 to 0.31; P = .62). We did not observe sex differences in the association between APOE and β-amyloid 42, neuritic plaque burden, or neurofibrillary tangle burden.
Conclusions and Relevance - We provide robust evidence of a stronger association between APOE-ε4 and CSF tau levels among women compared with men across multiple independent data sets. Interestingly, APOE-ε4 is not differentially associated with autopsy measures of neurofibrillary tangles. Together, the sex difference in the association between APOE and CSF measures of tau and the lack of a sex difference in the association with neurofibrillary tangles at autopsy suggest that APOE may modulate risk for neurodegeneration in a sex-specific manner, particularly in the presence of amyloidosis.
Arterial stiffening is associated with cognitive impairment and prodromal Alzheimer's disease. This study tested the interaction between arterial stiffening and an Alzheimer's disease genetic risk factor (apolipoprotein E [APOE] genotype) on cognition among older adults. Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants with normal cognition (n = 162, 72 ± 7 years, 29% APOE-ε4 carrier) and mild cognitive impairment (n = 121, 73 ± 8 years, 42% APOE-ε4 carrier) completed neuropsychological assessment and cardiac MRI to assess aortic stiffening using pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s). Linear regression models stratified by cognitive diagnosis related aortic PWV × APOE-ε4 status to neuropsychological performances, adjusting for demographic and vascular risk factors. PWV × APOE-ε4 related to poorer performance on measures of lexical retrieval (β = -0.29, p = 0.01), executive function (β = -0.44, p = 0.02), and episodic memory (β = -3.07, p = 0.02). Among participants with higher aortic PWV, APOE-ε4 modified the association between central arterial stiffening and cognition, such that carriers had worse performances than noncarriers. Findings add to a growing body of evidence for APOE-vascular interactions on cognition in older adults and warrant further research into less heart-healthy cohorts where the association between PWV and cognition among older adults might be stronger.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Biomarker definitions for preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) have identified individuals with neurodegeneration (ND+) without β-amyloidosis (Aβ-) and labeled them with suspected non-AD pathophysiology (SNAP). We evaluated Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε2 and ε4 allele frequencies across biomarker definitions-Aβ-/ND- (n = 268), Aβ+/ND- (n = 236), Aβ-/ND+ or SNAP (n = 78), Aβ+/ND+ (n = 204)-hypothesizing that SNAP would have an APOE profile comparable to Aβ-/ND-. Using AD Neuroimaging Initiative data (n = 786, 72±7 years, 48% female), amyloid status (Aβ+ or Aβ-) was defined by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ-42 levels, and neurodegeneration status (ND+ or ND-) was defined by hippocampal volume from MRI. Binary logistic regression related biomarker status to APOE ε2 and ε4 allele carrier status, adjusting for age, sex, education, and cognitive diagnosis. Compared to the biomarker negative (Aβ-/ND-) participants, higher proportions of ε4 and lower proportions of ε2 carriers were observed among Aβ+/ND- (ε4: OR = 6.23, p<0.001; ε2: OR = 0.53, p = 0.03) and Aβ+/ND+ participants (ε4: OR = 12.07, p<0.001; ε2: OR = 0.29, p = 0.004). SNAP participants were statistically comparable to biomarker negative participants (p-values>0.30). In supplemental analyses, comparable results were observed when coding SNAP using amyloid imaging and when using CSF tau levels. In contrast to APOE, a polygenic risk score for AD that excluded APOE did not show an association with amyloidosis or neurodegeneration (p-values>0.15), but did show an association with SNAP defined using CSF tau (β = 0.004, p = 0.02). Thus, in a population with low levels of cerebrovascular disease and a lower prevalence of SNAP than the general population, APOE and known genetic drivers of AD do not appear to contribute to the neurodegeneration observed in SNAP. Additional work in population based samples is needed to better elucidate the genetic contributors to various etiological drivers of SNAP.
Amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides impair multiple cellular pathways and play a causative role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, but how the brain proteome is remodeled by this process is unknown. To identify protein networks associated with AD-like pathology, we performed global quantitative proteomic analysis in three mouse models at young and old ages. Our analysis revealed a robust increase in Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) levels in nearly all brain regions with increased Aβ levels. Taken together with prior findings on ApoE driving Aβ accumulation, this analysis points to a pathological dysregulation of the ApoE-Aβ axis. We also found dysregulation of protein networks involved in excitatory synaptic transmission. Analysis of the AMPA receptor (AMPAR) complex revealed specific loss of TARPγ-2, a key AMPAR-trafficking protein. Expression of TARPγ-2 in hAPP transgenic mice restored AMPA currents. This proteomic database represents a resource for the identification of protein alterations responsible for AD.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) represent important modulators of plaque stability in advanced lesions. We previously reported that loss of small proline-rich repeat protein 3 (Sprr3), leads to VSMC apoptosis in a PI3K/Akt-dependent manner and accelerates lesion progression. Here, we investigated the role of Sprr3 in modulating plaque stability in hyperlipidemic ApoE-/- mice. We show that loss of Sprr3 increased necrotic core size and reduced cap collagen content of atheromas in brachiocephalic arteries with evidence of plaque rupture and development of intraluminal thrombi. Moreover, Sprr3-/-ApoE-/- mice developed advanced coronary artery lesions accompanied by intraplaque hemorrhage and left ventricle microinfarcts. SPRR3 is known to reduce VSMC survival in lesions by promoting their apoptosis. In addition, we demonstrated that Sprr3-/- VSMCs displayed reduced expression of procollagen in a PI3K/Akt dependent manner. SPRR3 loss also increased MMP gelatinase activity in lesions, and increased MMP2 expression, migration and contraction of VSMCs independently of PI3K/Akt. Consequently, Sprr3 represents the first described VSMC modulator of each of the critical features of cap stability, including VSMC numbers, collagen type I synthesis, and protease activity through Akt dependent and independent pathways.
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.
AIMS - Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) promotes the degradation of hepatic low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors (LDLR), thereby, decreasing hepatocyte LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) uptake. However, it is unknown whether PCSK9 has effects on atherogenesis that are independent of lipid changes. The present study investigated the effect of human (h) PCSK9 on plasma lipids, hepatic lipogenesis, and atherosclerotic lesion size and composition in transgenic mice expressing hPCSK9 (hPCSK9tg) on wild-type (WT), LDLR⁻/⁻, or apoE⁻/⁻ background.
METHODS AND RESULTS - hPCSK9 expression significantly increased plasma cholesterol (+91%), triglycerides (+18%), and apoB (+57%) levels only in WT mice. The increase in plasma lipids was a consequence of both decreased hepatic LDLR and increased hepatic lipid production, mediated transcriptionally and post-transcriptionally by PCSK9 and dependent on both LDLR and apoE. Despite the lack of changes in plasma lipids in mice expressing hPCSK9 and lacking LDLR (the main target for PCSK9) or apoE (a canonical ligand for the LDLR), hPCSK9 expression increased aortic lesion size in the absence of apoE (268 655 ± 97 972 µm² in hPCSK9tg/apoE⁻/⁻ vs. 189 423 ± 65 700 µm(2) in apoE⁻/⁻) but not in the absence of LDLR. Additionally, hPCSK9 accumulated in the atheroma and increased lesion Ly6C(hi) monocytes (by 21%) in apoE⁻/⁻ mice, but not in LDLR⁻/⁻ mice.
CONCLUSIONS - PCSK9 increases hepatic lipid and lipoprotein production via apoE- and LDLR-dependent mechanisms. However, hPCSK9 also accumulate in the artery wall and directly affects atherosclerosis lesion size and composition independently of such plasma lipid and lipoprotein changes. These effects of hPCSK9 are dependent on LDLR but are independent of apoE.
Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2016. For permissions please email: email@example.com.
BACKGROUND - DNA methylation is influenced by diet and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and methylation modulates gene expression.
OBJECTIVE - We aimed to explore whether the gene-by-diet interactions on blood lipids act through DNA methylation.
DESIGN - We selected 7 SNPs on the basis of predicted relations in fatty acids, methylation, and lipids. We conducted a meta-analysis and a methylation and mediation analysis with the use of data from the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) consortium and the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) consortium.
RESULTS - On the basis of the meta-analysis of 7 cohorts in the CHARGE consortium, higher plasma HDL cholesterol was associated with fewer C alleles at ATP-binding cassette subfamily A member 1 (ABCA1) rs2246293 (β = -0.6 mg/dL, P = 0.015) and higher circulating eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (β = 3.87 mg/dL, P = 5.62 × 10(21)). The difference in HDL cholesterol associated with higher circulating EPA was dependent on genotypes at rs2246293, and it was greater for each additional C allele (β = 1.69 mg/dL, P = 0.006). In the GOLDN (Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network) study, higher ABCA1 promoter cg14019050 methylation was associated with more C alleles at rs2246293 (β = 8.84%, P = 3.51 × 10(18)) and lower circulating EPA (β = -1.46%, P = 0.009), and the mean difference in methylation of cg14019050 that was associated with higher EPA was smaller with each additional C allele of rs2246293 (β = -2.83%, P = 0.007). Higher ABCA1 cg14019050 methylation was correlated with lower ABCA1 expression (r = -0.61, P = 0.009) in the ENCODE consortium and lower plasma HDL cholesterol in the GOLDN study (r = -0.12, P = 0.0002). An additional mediation analysis was meta-analyzed across the GOLDN study, Cardiovascular Health Study, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Compared with the model without the adjustment of cg14019050 methylation, the model with such adjustment provided smaller estimates of the mean plasma HDL cholesterol concentration in association with both the rs2246293 C allele and EPA and a smaller difference by rs2246293 genotypes in the EPA-associated HDL cholesterol. However, the differences between 2 nested models were NS (P > 0.05).
CONCLUSION - We obtained little evidence that the gene-by-fatty acid interactions on blood lipids act through DNA methylation.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.