Plaque-associated endothelial dysfunction in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice on a regular diet. Effect of human apolipoprotein AI
Crauwels, Herta M × Van Hove, Cor E Holvoet, Paul Herman, Arnold G Bult, Hidde #
Cardiovascular Research vol:59 issue:1 pages:189-99
OBJECTIVE: Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (apoE(-/-)) on a regular diet become hypercholesterolemic and develop atherosclerosis, but endothelium-dependent relaxation remains undisturbed for up to 6 months. We investigated whether vasomotor dysfunction develops in aged apoE(-/-), whether the defect was systemic (hypercholesterolemia-dependent) or focal (plaque-related), and the effect of human apolipoprotein AI transgenesis (apoAI/E(-/-)). METHODS: Arteries of apoE(-/-) (n=5), apoAI/E(-/-) (n=6) and C57Bl/6J (WT, n=4) mice (18 months) were systematically dissected for isometric tension recording and subsequent morphometry. RESULTS: Acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxation was impaired (P<0.01) in atherosclerotic segments of apoE(-/-) (26+/-14%) as compared to WT mice (93+/-2%). Similar reduced (P<0.01) responses to adenosine 5'-triphosphate (apoE(-/-) 38+/-14, WT 94+/-3%) and the calcium ionophore A23187 (apoE(-/-) 19+/-6%, WT 97+/-2%) pointed to a post-receptor defect. Indeed, responses to exogenous nitric oxide were impaired in atherosclerotic segments as well (apoE(-/-) 71+/-7%, WT 92+/-1%, P<0.05). Furthermore, relaxations inversely correlated with plaque size (ACh r(s)=-0.74, P<0.01). In adjacent plaque-free segments however, responses to ACh (apoE(-/-) 92+/-3%, WT 97+/-1%) and all other agents were preserved, despite the prolonged hypercholesterolemia. ApoAI improved vasomotor responses in atherosclerotic segments. However, negative correlations between maximal relaxation and plaque area remained in apoAI/E(-/-) mice (ACh r(s)=-0.67, P<0.01). Indeed, covariate analysis of variance did not point to direct protection of vasomotor function by apoAI when the smaller lesions were taken into account. CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial dysfunction in apoE(-/-) mice is not affected by hypercholesterolemia alone, but is strictly associated with plaque formation. Human apoAI transgenesis-known to raise HDL-attenuated atherogenesis, thereby indirectly improving relaxation responses in apoE(-/-) mice.