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Inflamm Res. 2012 Dec;61(12):1299-307. doi: 10.1007/s00011-012-0529-4. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Liver X receptor activation attenuates plaque formation and improves vasomotor function of the aortic artery in atherosclerotic ApoE(-/-) mice.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, Shaanxi, China.



The severity of atherosclerosis is primarily determined by overall lipid metabolism and the degree of inflammation present within the vessel wall. We evaluated the effects of T-0901317, a liver X receptor agonist, on the atherosclerosis process, and especially on the endothelial function in ApoE(-/-) mice.


ApoE(-/-) mice were treated with LXR agonist T-0901317 (1 μmol/L) for 6 weeks. ApoE(-/-) mice receiving T-0901317 were found to have markedly improved overall serum lipid profiles, albeit increased serum triglycerides. MRI imaging demonstrated that T-0901317 attenuated the atherosclerotic plaque burden in the aorta of ApoE(-/-) mice. Transmission electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry revealed attenuated ultrastructural changes as well as enhanced expression of the ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA1. In addition, treatment with the LXR agonist improved the vasomotor function of atherosclerotic arteries, as assessed by KCl/norepinephrine-induced vasoconstrictive and acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation functional assays. In vitro studies showed increased ABCG1, phospho-Akt and phospho-eNOS expression in ApoE(-/-) mice aorta endothelial cells (ECs) after T0901317 treatment.


The present study suggest that LXR agonists protect the endothelium against atherosclerotic insults by increasing ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression, and improve the endothelial-dependent vasomotor function probably by promoting Akt and eNOS phosphorylation.

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