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      Broad-Spectrum Chemokine Inhibition Reduces Vascular Macrophage Accumulation and Collagenolysis Consistent with Plaque Stabilization in Mice

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          Background: A major determinant of the risk of myocardial infarction is the stability of the atherosclerotic plaque. Macrophage-rich plaques are more vulnerable to rupture, since macrophages excrete an excess of matrix-degrading enzymes over their inhibitors, reducing collagen content and thinning the fibrous cap. Several genetic studies have shown that disruption of signalling by the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 reduced the lipid lesion area and macrophage accumulation in the vessel wall. Methods: We have tested whether a similar reduction in macrophage accumulation could be achieved pharmacologically by treating apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice with the chemokine inhibitor NR58-3.14.3. Results: Mice treated for various periods of time (from several days to 6 months) with NR58-3.14.3 (approximately 30 mg/kg/day) consistently had 30–40% fewer macrophages in vascular lesions, compared with mice treated with the inactive control NR58-3.14.4 or PBS vehicle. Similarly, cleaved collagen staining was lower in mice treated for up to 7 days, although this effect was not maintained when treatment time was extended to 12 weeks. The vascular lipid lesion area was unaffected by treatment, but total collagen I staining and smooth muscle cell number were both increased, suggesting that a shift to a more stable plaque phenotype had been achieved. Conclusions: Strategies, such as chemokine inhibition, to attenuate macrophage accumulation may therefore be useful to promote stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Quantitative assessment of atherosclerotic lesions in mice.

          The well-defined genetic systems of the mouse are proving useful in experimental studies of atherosclerosis. Inbred mouse strains differ in atherosclerosis susceptibility, and several variants of apolipoproteins have been identified and mapped. This report explores the location and timing of lesion formation in the mouse in an effort to provide a basis for quantitatively comparing groups of mice. After 14 weeks on an atherogenic diet containing 1.25% cholesterol, 15% fat, and 0.5% cholic acid, C57BL/6J female mice had aortic lesions at each of the intercostal arteries, at the junction of the aorta to the heart, and in scattered areas covering 1.1% +/- 0.5 (SD) of the aortic surface. After 9 months on the atherogenic diet, those lesions near the heart and intercostal arteries were extensive, 8% +/- 3 (SD) of the remainder of the aorta was involved in lesions, and lesions were found in the coronary arteries. Results indicated that one suitable location for scoring lesions was in a 300 micron area of the aorta just beyond the aortic sinus. The mean number of lesions/mouse in the selected area after 14 weeks on the atherogenic diet was 1.1 +/- 0.3 (SD). The results were reproducible over 10 separate experiments. The number of lesions per mouse fit a Poisson distribution indicating that the presence of one lesion did not predispose the mouse to acquiring a second lesion. Lesion formation and cholesterol levels did not vary with the season of the year as demonstrated by 9 separate experiments over more than 12 months. Methods of evaluating the number and size of lesions were compared including sizing with a microscope eyepiece grid and computer-assisted planimetry. The resulting data provide reproducible methods of quantitatively comparing lesion formation in various strains or groups of mice, thereby increasing the usefulness of the mouse as an experimental system for atherosclerosis research.
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            Atherosclerotic plaque caps are locally weakened when macrophages density is increased.

            The density of macrophages, identified by the antibody EBMII, in human aortic plaque caps was counted. A contiguous strip of cap tissue was tested mechanically. Aortic plaque caps which had undergone rupture (ulceration) at one end (n = 18) were compared with caps of intact plaques (n = 22). The caps of ruptured plaques showed a significant increase in macrophage density, an increased extensibility and decreased maximum stress (force per unit area) at fracture when compared with caps from intact plaques.
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              MCP-1 protects mice in lethal endotoxemia.

              The overzealous production of proinflammatory cytokines in sepsis can result in shock, multiorgan dysfunction, and even death. In this study, we assessed the role of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) as a mediator of sepsis in endotoxin-challenged mice. Intraperitoneal administration of LPS to CD-1 mice induced a substantial time-dependent increase in MCP-1 in plasma, lung, and liver. The passive immunization of mice with rabbit antimurine MCP-1 antiserum 2 h before endotoxin administration resulted in a striking increase in LPS-induced mortality from 10% in control animals to 65% in anti-MCP-1-treated animals. Importantly, the administration of anti-MCP-1 antibodies to endotoxin-challenged mice resulted in increases in peak TNF-alpha and IL-12 levels, and also in a trend toward decreased serum levels of IL-10. Conversely, the administration of recombinant murine MCP-1 intraperitoneally significantly protected mice from endotoxin-induced lethality, and resulted in an increase in IL-10 levels, a decrease in IL-12 levels, and a trend toward decreased levels of TNF. In conclusion, our findings indicate that MCP-1 is a protective cytokine expressed in murine endotoxemia, and does so by shifting the balance in favor of antiinflammatory cytokine expression in endotoxin-challenged animals.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                December 2005
                20 October 2005
                : 42
                : 6
                : 492-502
                aDepartment of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK; bNeoRx Corporation, Seattle, Wash., USA
                88139 J Vasc Res 2005;42:492–502
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, References: 31, Pages: 11
                Research Paper


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