Serum Amyloid A Directly Accelerates the Progression of Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E–Deficient Mice

Zhe Dong, Tingting Wu, Weidong Qin, Chuankai An, Zhihao Wang, Mingxiang Zhang, Yun Zhang, Cheng Zhang, and Fengshuang An

Although serum amyloid A (SAA) is an excellent marker for coronary artery disease, its direct effect on atherogenesis in vivo is obscure. In this study we investigated the direct effect of SAA on promoting the formation of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE–/–) mice. Murine SAA lentivirus was constructed and injected into ApoE–/– mice intravenously. Then, experimental mice were fed a chow diet (5% fat and no added cholesterol) for 14 wks. The aortic atherosclerotic lesion area was larger with than without SAA treatment. With increased SAA levels, the plasma levels of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α were significantly increased. Macrophage infiltration in atherosclerotic regions was enhanced with SAA treatment. A migration assay revealed prominent dose-dependent chemotaxis of SAA to macrophages. Furthermore, the expression of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) was upregulated significantly with SAA treatment. SAA-induced VCAM-1 production was detected in human aortic endothelial cells in vitro. Thus, an increase in plasma SAA directly accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis in ApoE–/– mice. SAA is not only a risk marker for atherosclerosis but also an active participant in atherogenesis.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Dec 9, 2011 12:00 AM CST