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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1999 Aug;19(8):1960-8.

Genetic background determines the extent of atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Two strains of ApoE-deficient mice were found to have markedly different plasma lipoprotein profiles and susceptibility to atherosclerosis when fed either a low-fat chow or a high-fat Western-type diet. FVB/NJ ApoE-deficient (FVB E0) mice had higher total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, ApoA1, and ApoA2 levels when compared with C57BL/6J ApoE-deficient (C57 E0) mice. At 16 weeks of age, mean aortic root atherosclerotic lesion area was 7- to 9-fold higher in chow diet-fed C57 E0 mice and 3.5-fold higher in Western diet-fed C57 E0 mice compared with FVB E0 mice fed similar diets. Lesion area in chow diet-fed first-generation mice from a strain intercross was intermediate in size compared with parental values. The distribution of the lesion area in 150 chow diet-fed second-generation progeny spanned the range of the lesion area in both parental strains. There were no correlations between total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, ApoA1, ApoA2, ApoJ, or anti-cardiolipin antibodies and lesion area in the second-generation progeny. Thus, a genomic approach may succeed in identifying the genes responsible for the variation in atherosclerosis susceptibility in these 2 strains of ApoE-deficient mice, which could not be explained by measured plasma parameters.

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