Vaccinia Virus Complement Control Protein Diminishes Formation of Atherosclerotic Lesions: Complement Is Centrally Involved in Atherosclerotic Disease
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Bambir, Slavko H
Kotwal, Girish J
Arason, Guðmundur J
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CitationAnn N Y Acad Sci 2005, 1056:1-15
AbstractComplement is known to be activated in atherosclerotic lesions, but the importance of this event in disease pathology is a matter of debate. Studies of rabbits fed a high-fat diet have indicated complement activation as a rate-limiting step, whereas results from genetically modified mouse strains (ApoE(-/-) or LDLR(-/-)) have failed to support this finding. To resolve whether this reflects differences between species or between genetically driven and diet-induced disease, we studied the effect of a complement inhibitor, vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP), on C57BL/6 mice, the background strain of ApoE(-/-) and LDLR(-/-) mice. Atherosclerosis was induced by a high-fat diet, and VCP (20 mg/kg) was injected once per week after the eighth week. Fatty streak development was monitored at 15 weeks by microscopic examination of oil red-O-stained sections from the root of the aorta. VCP injections led to significant (50%) reduction of lesion size (P = 0.004). Lesions were marked by gradual accumulation of lipids and macrophages but did not develop beyond the fatty streak stage. VCP activity disappeared from serum in 4 days, and the possibility therefore exists that a higher level of protection may be achieved by more frequent injections. We conclude that the development of fatty streaks in diet-induced atherosclerotic disease can be significantly retarded by prophylactic treatment with a complement inhibitor. These results support previous findings from complement-deficient rabbits and suggest that the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in diet-induced disease differs from that induced by major defects in lipid metabolism.
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