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The mutation L159R apoA-I or apoA-I(L159R) (FIN) is a single amino acid substitution within the sixth helical repeat of apoA-I. It is associated with a dominant negative phenotype, displaying hypoalphaproteinemia and an increased risk for atherosclerosis in humans. Mice lacking both mouse apoA-I and LDL receptor (LDL(-/-), apoA-I(-/-)) (double knockout or DKO) were crossed>9 generations with mice transgenic for human FIN to obtain L159R apoA-I, LDLr(-/-), ApoA-I(-/-) (FIN-DKO) mice. A similar cross was also performed with human wild-type (WT) apoA-I (WT-DKO). In addition, FIN-DKO and WT-DKO were crossed to obtain WT/FIN-DKO mice. To determine the effects of the apoA-I mutations on atherosclerosis, groups of each genotype were fed either chow or an atherogenic diet for 12weeks. Interestingly, the production of dysfunctional HDL-like particles occurred in DKO and FIN-DKO mice. These particles were distinct with respect to size, and their enrichment in apoE and cholesterol esters. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis indicated that particles found in the plasma of FIN-DKO mice migrated as large α(3)-HDL. Atherosclerosis analysis showed that FIN-DKO mice developed the greatest extent of aortic cholesterol accumulation compared to all other genotypes, including DKO mice which lack any apoA-I. Taken together these data suggest that the presence of large apoE enriched HDL particles containing apoA-I L159R lack the normal cholesterol efflux promoting properties of HDL, rendering them dysfunctional and pro-atherogenic. In conclusion, large HDL-like particles containing apoE and apoA-I(L159R) contribute rather than protect against atherosclerosis, possibly through defective efflux properties and their potential for aggregation at their site of interaction in the aorta. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Advances in High Density Lipoprotein Formation and Metabolism: A Tribute to John F. Oram (1945-2010).
Copyright Â© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The immune system is complex, with multiple layers of regulation that serve to prevent the production of self-antigens. One layer of regulation involves regulatory T cells (Tregs) that play an essential role in maintaining peripheral self-tolerance. Patients with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis have decreased levels of HDL, suggesting that apoA-I concentrations may be important in preventing autoimmunity and the loss of self-tolerance. In published studies, hypercholesterolemic mice lacking HDL apoA-I or LDLr(-/-), apoA-I(-/-) (DKO), exhibit characteristics of autoimmunity in response to an atherogenic diet. This phenotype is characterized by enlarged cholesterol-enriched lymph nodes (LNs), as well as increased T cell activation, proliferation, and the production of autoantibodies in plasma. In this study, we investigated whether treatment of mice with lipid-free apoA-I could attenuate the autoimmune phenotype. To do this, DKO mice were first fed an atherogenic diet containing 0.1% cholesterol, 10% fat for 6 weeks, after which treatment with apoA-I was begun. Subcutaneous injections of 500 μg of lipid-free apoA-I was administered every 48 h during the treatment phase. These and control mice were maintained for an additional 6 weeks on the diet. At the end of the 12-week study, DKO mice showed decreased numbers of LN immune cells, whereas Tregs were proportionately increased. Accompanying this increase in Tregs was a decrease in the percentage of effector/effector memory T cells. Furthermore, lipid accumulation in LN and skin was reduced. These results suggest that treatment with apoA-I reduces inflammation in DKO mice by augmenting the effectiveness of the LN Treg response.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 augments nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion. Chow-fed mice lacking the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (Glp1r) exhibit enhanced insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake but impaired suppression of endogenous glucose appearance (endoRa). This proposes a novel role for the Glp1r to regulate the balance of glucose disposal in muscle and liver by modulating insulin action. Whether this is maintained in an insulin-resistant state is unknown. The present studies tested the hypothesis that disruption of Glp1r expression overcomes high-fat (HF) diet-induced muscle insulin resistance and exacerbates HF diet-induced hepatic insulin resistance. Mice with a functional disruption of the Glp1r (Glp1r-/-) were compared with wild-type littermates (Glp1r+/+) after 12 wk on a regular chow diet or a HF diet. Arterial and venous catheters were implanted for sampling and infusions. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps were performed on weight-matched male mice. [3-(3)H]glucose was used to determine glucose turnover, and 2[14C]deoxyglucose was used to measure the glucose metabolic index, an indicator of glucose uptake. Glp1r-/- mice exhibited increased glucose disappearance and muscle glucose metabolic index on either diet. This was associated with enhanced activation of muscle Akt and AMP-activated protein kinase and reduced muscle triglycerides in HF-fed Glp1r-/- mice. Chow-fed Glp1r-/- mice exhibited impaired suppression of endoRa and hepatic insulin signaling. In contrast, HF-fed Glp1r-/- mice exhibited improved suppression of endoRa and hepatic Akt activation. This was associated with decreased hepatic triglycerides and impaired activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1. These results show that mice lacking the Glp1r are protected from HF diet-induced muscle and hepatic insulin resistance independent of effects on total fat mass.
OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an atherogenic diet on immune function in LDLr(-/-), ApoA-I(-/-) mice.
METHODS AND RESULTS - When LDLr(-/-), ApoA-I(-/-) (DKO), and LDLr(-/-) (SKO) mice were fed an atherogenic diet, DKO had larger peripheral lymph nodes (LNs) and spleens compared to SKO mice. LNs were enriched in cholesterol and contain expanded populations of T, B, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Expansion of all classes of LN cells was accompanied by a approximately 1.5-fold increase in T cell proliferation and activation. Plasma antibodies to dsDNA, beta2-glycoprotein I, and oxidized LDL were increased in DKO, similar to levels in diet-fed Fas(lpr/lpr) mice, suggesting the development of an autoimmune phenotype. Both LN enlargement and cellular cholesterol expansion were "prevented" when diet-fed DKO mice were treated with helper dependent adenovirus expressing apoA-I. Independent of the amount of dietary cholesterol, DKO mice consistently showed lower plasma cholesterol than SKO mice, yet greater aortic cholesterol deposition and inflammation.
CONCLUSIONS - ApoA-I prevented cholesterol-associated lymphocyte activation and proliferation in peripheral LN of diet-fed DKO mice. A approximately 1.5-fold increase in T cell activation and proliferation was associated with a approximately 3-fold increase in concentrations of circulating autoantibodies and approximately 2-fold increase in the severity of atherosclerosis suggesting a common link between plasma apoA-I, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.
Excess food intake leads to obesity and diabetes, both of which are well-known independent risk factors for atherosclerosis, and both of which are growing epidemics in an aging population. We hypothesized that aging enhances the metabolic and vascular effects of high fat diet (HFD) and therefore examined the effect of age on atherosclerosis and insulin resistance in lipoprotein receptor knockout (LDLR(-/-)) mice. We found that 12-month-old (middle-aged) LDLR(-/-) mice developed substantially worse metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and atherosclerosis than 3-month-old (young) LDLR(-/-) mice when both were fed HFD for 3 months, despite similar elevations in total cholesterol levels. Microarray analyses were performed to analyze the mechanism responsible for the marked acceleration of atherosclerosis in middle-aged mice. Chow-fed middle-aged mice had greater aortic expression of multiple antioxidant genes than chow-fed young mice, including glutathione peroxidase-1 and -4, catalase, superoxide dismutase-2, and uncoupling protein-2. Aortic expression of these enzymes markedly increased in young mice fed HFD but decreased or only modestly increased in middle-aged mice fed HFD, despite the fact that systemic oxidative stress and vascular reactive oxygen species generation, measured by plasma F2alpha isoprostane concentration (systemic) and dihydroethidium conversion and p47phox expression (vascular), were greater in middle-aged mice fed HFD. Thus, the mechanism for the accelerated vascular injury in older LDLR(-/-) mice was likely the profound inability to mount an antioxidant response. This effect was related to a decrease in vascular expression of 2 key transcriptional pathways regulating the antioxidant response, DJ-1 and forkhead box, subgroup O family (FOXOs). Treatment of middle-aged mice fed HFD with the antioxidant apocynin attenuated atherosclerosis, whereas treatment with the insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone attenuated both metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis. Both treatments decreased oxidative stress. A novel effect of rosiglitazone was to increase expression of Nrf2 (nuclear factor [erythroid-derived 2]-like 2), a downstream target of DJ-1 contributing to enhanced expression of vascular antioxidant enzymes. This investigation underscores the role of oxidative stress when multiple atherosclerotic risk factors, particularly aging, converge on the vessel wall and emphasizes the need to develop effective strategies to inhibit oxidative stress to protect aging vasculature.
Diet is one of the important factors that modulate immune responses. In the present study, we have examined the capacity of dietary lipids to modify immune responses in mice and we have investigated the contribution of glycolipid-reactive natural killer T (NKT) cells in this process. Mice fed, high fat diet (HFD; 21.2% fat, 0.20% cholesterol) for 3 weeks, as compared with mice fed standard fat diet (SFD; 4.3% fat, 0.03% cholesterol), showed significantly reduced interferon-gamma production in sera at 6 or 12 h after intraperitoneal injection of an NKT cell ligand, alpha-galactosylceramide. In contrast, production of interleukin-13 was significantly higher at 2 and 6 h in HFD fed mice compared with mice on SFD. No difference was detected in the serum interleukin-4 levels between these two groups of animals. The proportion of NKT cells in spleen and liver was reduced in mice fed HFD compared with those on SFD. In addition, activation of NKT cells assessed by up-regulation of CD69 was suppressed specifically in liver from mice fed HFD. Recall responses of conventional T cells and delayed-type hypersensitivity (Th1 type) against ovalbumin were significantly suppressed in mice fed HFD in comparison with those fed SFD. This suppression was not observed in CD1d-/- mice, suggesting that NKT cells in mice fed HFD played a role in suppressing Th1 responses. Taken together, our findings suggest a critical link between NKT cells, dietary lipid and adaptive immune responses.
Insulin resistance is often associated with obesity and can precipitate type 2 diabetes. To date, most known approaches that improve insulin resistance must be preceded by the amelioration of obesity and hepatosteatosis. Here, we show that this provision is not mandatory; insulin resistance and hyperglycemia are improved by the modification of hepatic fatty acid composition, even in the presence of persistent obesity and hepatosteatosis. Mice deficient for Elovl6, the gene encoding the elongase that catalyzes the conversion of palmitate to stearate, were generated and shown to become obese and develop hepatosteatosis when fed a high-fat diet or mated to leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. However, they showed marked protection from hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia and hyperleptinemia. Amelioration of insulin resistance was associated with restoration of hepatic insulin receptor substrate-2 and suppression of hepatic protein kinase C epsilon activity resulting in restoration of Akt phosphorylation. Collectively, these data show that hepatic fatty acid composition is a new determinant for insulin sensitivity that acts independently of cellular energy balance and stress. Inhibition of this elongase could be a new therapeutic approach for ameliorating insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular risks, even in the presence of a continuing state of obesity.
Atherosclerotic lesions are characterized by a profound alteration in the architecture of the arterial intima, with a marked increase of fibronectin (FN) and the appearance of the alternatively spliced FN variant containing the extra domain A (EDA). To analyze the role of FN isoforms in atherosclerotic lesion formation we utilized mouse strains devoid of EDA exon regulated splicing, which constitutively include (EDA(+/+)) or exclude (EDA(-/-)) the exon. Both mutant mice had a 40% reduction in atherosclerotic lesions after the atherogenic-diet treatment (mean+/-S.E., microm(2); 22969+/-2185; 13660+/-1533; 14260+/-2501 for EDA(wt/wt), EDA(+/+) and EDA(-/-), respectively; p< or =0.01 ANOVA test) associated to a lower capacity of macrophages to uptake modified LDL and undergo foam-cell formation. Lesions in control mice were more numerous and bigger, with augmented and deeper macrophage infiltration, and increased FN expression in the sub-endothelial area. Previous experiments have shown that apoE(-/-)EDA(-/-) mice have a decreased number and size of atherosclerotic lesions and, on this basis, it has been proposed that the EDA domain has a pro-atherogenic role. Our data with the EDA(+/+) mice rules out this hypothesis and suggest that regulated splicing of the EDA exon of the FN gene is involved in progression of atherosclerosis, highlighting the importance of alternative splicing in regulating cellular processes.
Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate, and its related disorders are placing a considerable strain on our healthcare system. Although they are not always coincident, obesity is often accompanied by hyperlipidemia. Both obesity and hyperlipidemia are independently associated with atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance (IR). Thus, we sought to determine the relative contributions of obesity and hyperlipidemia to these associated pathologies. Obese agouti (A(y)/a) mice and their littermate controls (a/a) were placed on an LDL receptor (LDLR)(-/-) background. At 4 mo of age, mice were either maintained on chow diet (CD) or placed on Western diet (WD) for 12 wk. These genetic and dietary manipulations yielded four experimental groups: 1) lean, a/a;LDLR(-/-)CD; 2) genetic-induced obesity (GIO), A(y)/a;LDLR(-/-)CD; 3) diet-induced obesity (DIO), a/a;LDLR(-/-)WD; and 4) genetic- plus diet-induced obesity (GIO/DIO), A(y)/a;LDLR(-/-)WD. Lipoprotein profiles revealed increased VLDL and LDL particles in WD-fed mice compared with CD-fed controls. The hyperlipidemia present in this mouse model was the result of both increased hepatic triglyceride production and delayed lipoprotein clearance from the plasma. Both WD-fed groups exhibited similar levels of atherosclerotic lesion area, with increased obesity in the GIO/DIO group having no impact on atherogenesis. However, the severe obesity in the GIO/DIO group did aggravate NAFLD and IR. These findings suggest that, although obesity and hyperlipidemia exert individual pathological effects, the combination of the two has the potential to exert an additive effect on NAFLD and IR but not atherosclerosis in this mouse model.
Oxidized low-density lipoproteins (oxLDL) and their scavenger receptor (SR) binding partners play a central role in atherosclerosis and by analogy may play a role in chronic kidney disease pathogenesis. The present study was designed to investigate in C57BL/6 mice the effects of hypercholesterolemia on renal injury severity and oxLDL generation after unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). The expression profiles of CD36, SR class AI/II (SR-A), lectin-like receptor for oxidized low-density lipoprotein-1 (Lox-1), and SR that binds phosphatidylserine and oxLDL (SR-PSOX/CXCL16) were examined. Four experimental groups were studied: sham and UUO male mice on either a high-fat Western diet or a control diet. Significantly more oxLDL accumulated in the tubulointerstitium of hypercholesterolemic mice compared with normocholesterolemic mice after 14 days of UUO (P < 0.01). Total kidney collagen was significantly higher in the obstructed kidneys of hypercholesterolemic mice compared with normocholesterolemic mice on day 14 (P < 0.01). After 14 days of obstruction, the number of interstitial F4/80+ macrophages and NF-kappaB activation increased in hypercholesterolemic mice compared with normocholesterolemic mice (P < 0.01). In normal kidneys, CD36, SR-A, Lox-1, and CXCL16 were primarily localized to renal tubular epithelia. After ureteral obstruction, CD36 increased at day 7; SR-A and Lox-1 progressively decreased in a time-dependent manner; and CXCL16 increased significantly with the onset of obstruction (P < 0.01). Strong tubular expression suggests that in addition to inflammatory interstitial cells, renal tubular scavenger receptors may help to orchestrate the inflammatory and fibrogenic pathways that are activated by oxLDL.