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Thrombospondin-1 deficiency accelerates plaque maturation in ApoE-/- mice

By Rute Moura, Marc Tjwa, Petra Vandervoort, Soetkin Van kerckhoven, Paul Holvoet and Marc Hoylaerts


Thrombospondin (TSP)1 is implicated in various inflammatory processes, but its role in atherosclerotic plaque formation and progression is unclear. Therefore, the development of atherosclerosis was compared in ApoE(-/-) and Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) mice kept on a normocholesterolemic diet. At 6 months, morphometric analysis of the aortic root of both mouse genotypes showed comparable lesion areas. Even when plaque burden increased approximately 5-fold in ApoE(-/-) and 10-fold in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) mice, during the subsequent 3 months, total plaque areas were comparable at 9 months. In contrast, plaque composition differed substantially between genotypes: smooth muscle cell areas, mostly located in the fibrous cap of ApoE(-/-) plaques, both at 6 and 9 months, were 3-fold smaller in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) plaques, which, in addition, were also more fibrotic. Moreover, inflammation by macrophages was twice as high in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) plaques. This correlated with a 30-fold elevated incidence of elastic lamina degradation, with matrix metalloproteinase-9 accumulation, underneath plaques and manifestation of ectasia, exclusively in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) mice. At 9 months, the necrotic core was 1.4-fold larger and 4-fold higher numbers of undigested disintegrated apoptotic cells were found in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) plaques. Phagocytosis of platelets by cultured Tsp1(-/-) macrophages revealed the instrumental role of TSP1 in phagocytosis, corroborating the defective intraplaque phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Hence, the altered smooth muscle cell phenotype in Tsp1(-/-)ApoE(-/-) mice has limited quantitative impact on atherosclerosis, but defective TSP1-mediated phagocytosis enhanced plaque necrotic core formation, accelerating inflammation and macrophage-induced elastin degradation by metalloproteinases, speeding up plaque maturation and vessel wall degeneration.status: publishe

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Year: 2008
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Provided by: Lirias
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