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      A mouse model of human familial hypercholesterolemia: Markedly elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and severe atherosclerosis on a low-fat chow diet

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          Abstract

          Mutations in the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene cause familial hypercholesterolemia, a human disease characterized by premature atherosclerosis and markedly elevated plasma levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein (apo) B100. In contrast, mice deficient for the LDL receptor (Ldlr-/-) have only mildly elevated LDL cholesterol levels and little atherosclerosis. This difference results from extensive editing of the hepatic apoB mRNA in the mouse, which limits apoB100 synthesis in favor of apoB48 synthesis. We have generated Ldlr-/- mice that cannot edit the apoB mRNA and therefore synthesize exclusively apoB100. These mice had markedly elevated LDL cholesterol and apoB100 levels and developed extensive atherosclerosis on a chow diet. This authentic model of human familial hypercholesterolemia will provide a new tool for studying atherosclerosis.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Altered wound healing in mice lacking a functional osteopontin gene (spp1).

          Osteopontin (OPN) is an arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD)- containing glycoprotein encoded by the gene secreted phosphoprotein 1 (spp1). spp1 is expressed during embryogenesis, wound healing, and tumorigenesis; however, its in vivo functions are not well understood. Therefore, OPN null mutant mice were generated by targeted mutagenesis in embryonic stem cells. In OPN mutant mice, embryogenesis occurred normally, and mice were fertile. Since OPN shares receptors with vitronectin (VN), we tested for compensation by creating mice lacking both OPN and VN. The double mutants were also viable, suggesting that other RGD-containing ligands replace the embryonic loss of both proteins. We tested the healing of OPN mutants after skin incisions, where spp1 was upregulated as early as 6 h after wounding. Although the tensile properties of the wounds were unchanged, ultrastructural analysis showed a significantly decreased level of debridement, greater disorganization of matrix, and an alteration of collagen fibrillogenesis leading to small diameter collagen fibrils in the OPN mutant mice. These data indicate a role for OPN in tissue remodeling in vivo, and suggest physiological functions during matrix reorganization after injury.
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            Inducible inactivation of hepatic LRP gene by cre-mediated recombination confirms role of LRP in clearance of chylomicron remnants.

            The multifunctional low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein (LRP) has been postulated to participate in a number of diverse physiological and pathological processes ranging from the homeostasis of plasma lipoproteins, atherosclerosis, and fibrinolysis to neuronal regeneration and survival. It has not been possible to demonstrate in vivo the physiological significance of LRP for each of these complex processes by a conventional gene knockout approach because LRP is essential for embryonic development. Here we have used the Cre/loxP recombination system to achieve inducible, tissue-specific and quantitative disruption of the LRP gene in adult mice. Inactivation of LRP in the livers of LDL receptor-deficient mice resulted in the accumulation of cholesterol-rich remnant lipoproteins in the circulation. In normal animals, this caused a compensatory upregulation of the LDL receptor in the liver. Conditional gene targeting has thus allowed us to isolate a specific physiological function of LRP for in vivo analysis and has provided unequivocal evidence for another LDL receptor-independent cholesterol clearance pathway in liver.
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              The two-receptor model of lipoprotein clearance: tests of the hypothesis in "knockout" mice lacking the low density lipoprotein receptor, apolipoprotein E, or both proteins.

              Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is hypothesized to mediate lipoprotein clearance by binding to two receptors: (i) the low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and (ii) a chylomicron remnant receptor. To test this hypothesis, we have compared plasma lipoproteins in mice that are homozygous for targeted disruptions of the genes for apoE [apoE(-/-)], the LDLR [LDLR(-/-)], and both molecules [poE(-/-); LDLR(-/-)]. On a normal chow diet, apoE(-/-) mice had higher mean plasma cholesterol levels than LDLR(-/-) mice (579 vs. 268 mg/dl). Cholesterol levels in the apoE(-/-); LDLR(-/-) mice were not significantly different from those in the apoE(-/-) mice. LDLR(-/-) mice had a relatively isolated elevation in plasma LDL, whereas apoE(-/-) mice had a marked increase in larger lipoproteins corresponding to very low density lipoproteins and chylomicron remnants. The lipoprotein pattern in apoE(-/-); LDLR(-/-) mice resembled that of apoE(-/-) mice. The LDLR(-/-) mice had a marked elevation in apoB-100 and a modest increase in apoB-48. In contrast, the apoE(-/-) mice had a marked elevation in apoB-48 but not in apoB-100. The LDLR(-/-); apoE(-/-) double homozygotes had marked elevations of both apolipoproteins. The observation that apoB-48 increases more dramatically with apoE deficiency than with LDLR deficiency supports the notion that apoE binds to a second receptor in addition to the LDLR. This conclusion is also supported by the observation that superimposition of a LDLR deficiency onto an apoE deficiency [apoE(-/-); LDLR(-/-) double homozygotes] does not increase hypercholesterolemia beyond the level observed with apoE deficiency alone.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Medicine
                Nat Med
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1078-8956
                1546-170X
                August 1998
                August 1998
                : 4
                : 8
                : 934-938
                Article
                10.1038/nm0898-934
                9701246
                © 1998

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