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Eur Heart J. 2011 Feb;32(4):412-21. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq521. Epub 2011 Jan 11.

Anti-Apolipoprotein A-1 auto-antibodies are active mediators of atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine, Foundation for Medical Researches, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland. fabrizio.montecucco@unige.ch



Anti-Apolipoprotein A-1 auto-antibodies (anti-ApoA-1 IgG) represent an emerging prognostic cardiovascular marker in patients with myocardial infarction or autoimmune diseases associated with high cardiovascular risk. The potential relationship between anti-ApoA-1 IgG and plaque vulnerability remains elusive. Thus, we aimed to investigate the role of anti-ApoA-1 IgG in plaque vulnerability.


Potential relationship between anti-ApoA-1 IgG and features of cardiovascular vulnerability was explored both in vivo and in vitro. In vivo, we investigated anti-ApoA-1 IgG in patients with severe carotid stenosis (n = 102) and in ApoE-/- mice infused with polyclonal anti-ApoA-1 IgG. In vitro, anti-ApoA-1 IgG effects were assessed on human primary macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils. Intraplaque collagen was decreased, while neutrophil and matrix metalloprotease (MMP)-9 content were increased in anti-ApoA-1 IgG-positive patients and anti-ApoA-1 IgG-treated mice when compared with corresponding controls. In mouse aortic roots (but not in abdominal aortas), treatment with anti-ApoA-1 IgG was associated with increased lesion size when compared with controls. In humans, serum anti-ApoA-1 IgG levels positively correlated with intraplaque macrophage, neutrophil, and MMP-9 content, and inversely with collagen. In vitro, anti-ApoA-1 IgG increased macrophage release of CCL2, CXCL8, and MMP-9, as well as neutrophil migration towards TNF-α or CXCL8.


These results suggest that anti-ApoA-1 IgG might be associated with increased atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability in humans and mice.

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