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Circulation. 2008 Sep 30;118(14):1467-75. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.793182. Epub 2008 Sep 15.

Inhibition of stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 dissociates insulin resistance and obesity from atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Section on Lipid Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1040, USA.



Stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1) is a well-known enhancer of the metabolic syndrome. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of SCD1 in lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis progression.


Antisense oligonucleotides were used to inhibit SCD1 in a mouse model of hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis (LDLr(-/-)Apob(100/100)). In agreement with previous reports, inhibition of SCD1 protected against diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis. Unexpectedly, however, SCD1 inhibition strongly promoted aortic atherosclerosis, which could not be reversed by dietary oleate. Further analyses revealed that SCD1 inhibition promoted accumulation of saturated fatty acids in plasma and tissues and reduced plasma triglyceride, yet had little impact on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Because dietary saturated fatty acids have been shown to promote inflammation through toll-like receptor 4, we examined macrophage toll-like receptor 4 function. Interestingly, SCD1 inhibition resulted in alterations in macrophage membrane lipid composition and marked hypersensitivity to toll-like receptor 4 agonists.


This study demonstrates that atherosclerosis can occur independently of obesity and insulin resistance and argues against SCD1 inhibition as a safe therapeutic target for the metabolic syndrome.

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