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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jul;7(3):147-53.

Oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor LOX-1 and apoptosis in human atherosclerotic lesions.

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Department of Surgery, University of Florida and the VA Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA.



Lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1), a novel receptor for oxidized low-density lipoprotein, mediates oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced apoptosis of endothelial cells, monocyte adhesion to endothelium, and phagocytosis of aged cells. The present study examined the role of LOX-1 and apoptosis in human atherosclerotic lesions.


Grafted vein (n = 8), human carotid artery endarterectomy (n = 11), and normal human internal mammary artery (n = 8) specimens were used to study the expression of LOX-1 and apoptosis. LOX-1 expression was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, Western analysis, and immunostaining. Presence of apoptosis was determined by fluorescent in situ nick end-labeling staining and by the presence of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase protein (an apoptotic marker). Expression of LOX-1 was significantly increased in atherosclerotic grafted vein and carotid artery specimens compared with that in normal arteries. LOX-1 was expressed in endothelial cells, macrophages, and smooth muscle cells. LOX-1 was extensively expressed in the new blood vessels in the core of advanced atherosclerotic lesions. Double immunostaining showed LOX-1 expression to be colocalized with apoptotic cells. Fluorescent in situ nick end-labeling staining showed that the apoptotic cells were present mostly in the rupture-prone regions of the atherosclerotic plaque.


These observations indicate that LOX-1 is extensively expressed in the proliferated intima of grafted veins and in advanced atherosclerotic carotid arteries. Further, LOX-1 is colocalized with apoptotic cells. These observations may relate to the phenomenon of plaque rupture, and provide targets for developing new therapies.

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