Mouse cytomegalovirus antigenic immune stimulation is sufficient to aggravate atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic mice
Vliegen, Inge × Herngreen, Selma B Grauls, Gert E L M Bruggeman, Cathrien A Stassen, Frank R M #
Atherosclerosis vol:181 issue:1 pages:39-44
We have previously demonstrated that mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection aggravates atherosclerosis by stimulating the ongoing inflammatory process in the vascular wall. Here we investigated whether MCMV antigenic immune stimulation by UV-MCMV injection is sufficient to aggravate atherosclerosis. In addition we analyzed whether low viral doses are sufficient to stimulate atherosclerosis. Therefore, apoE(-/-) mice received a low dose injection with infectious virus (MCMV) or replication-deficient virus (UV-inactivated MCMV, UV-MCMV). Atherosclerosis progression, influx of inflammatory cells in atherosclerotic lesions and internal organs and the number of MCMV DNA copies in various organs were determined at 2 weeks after injection. After injection with infectious virus, MCMV DNA was present in internal organs, while no MCMV DNA could be detected after UV-MCMV injection. Interestingly, both MCMV and UV-MCMV significantly increased mean atherosclerotic lesion area and T cell number in the atherosclerotic lesions, while only MCMV infection increased T cell numbers in the internal organs. These data indicate that in apoE(-/-) mice both low dose infectious MCMV as well as MCMV antigenic injections are sufficient for atherosclerosis aggravation.