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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jul 7;275(27):20368-73.

Relationship between expression levels and atherogenesis in scavenger receptor class B, type I transgenics.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Both in vitro and in vivo studies of scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) have implicated it as a likely participant in the metabolism of HDL cholesterol. To investigate the effect of SR-BI on atherogenesis, we examined two lines of SR-BI transgenic mice with high (10-fold increases) and low (2-fold increases) SR-BI expression in an inbred mouse background hemizygous for a human apolipoprotein (apo) B transgene. Unlike non-HDL cholesterol levels that minimally differed in the various groups of animals, HDL cholesterol levels were inversely related to SR-BI expression. Mice with the low expression SR-BI transgene had a 50% reduction in HDL cholesterol, whereas the high expression SR-BI transgene was associated with 2-fold decreases in HDL cholesterol as well as dramatic alterations in HDL composition and size including the near absence of alpha-migrating particles as determined by two-dimensional electrophoresis. The low expression SR-BI/apo B transgenics had more than a 2-fold decrease in the development of diet-induced fatty streak lesions compared with the apo B transgenics (4448 +/- 1908 micrometer(2)/aorta to 10133 +/- 4035 micrometer (2)/aorta; p < 0.001), whereas the high expression SR-BI/apo B transgenics had an atherogenic response similar to that of the apo B transgenics (14692 +/- 7238 micrometer(2)/aorta) but 3-fold greater than the low SR-BI/apo B mice (p < 0.001). The prominent anti-atherogenic effect of moderate SR-BI expression provides in vivo support for the hypothesis that HDL functions to inhibit atherogenesis through its interactions with SR-BI in facilitating reverse cholesterol transport. The failure of the high SR-BI/apo B transgenics to have similar or even greater reductions in atherogenesis suggests that the changes resulting from extremely high SR-BI expression including dramatic changes in lipoproteins may have both pro- and anti-atherogenic consequences, illustrating the complexity of the relationship between SR-BI and atherogenesis.

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