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J Vasc Res. 2005 Nov-Dec;42(6):492-502. Epub 2005 Sep 7.

Broad-spectrum chemokine inhibition reduces vascular macrophage accumulation and collagenolysis consistent with plaque stabilization in mice.

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Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



A major determinant of the risk of myocardial infarction is the stability of the atherosclerotic plaque. Macrophage-rich plaques are more vulnerable to rupture, since macrophages excrete an excess of matrix-degrading enzymes over their inhibitors, reducing collagen content and thinning the fibrous cap. Several genetic studies have shown that disruption of signalling by the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 reduced the lipid lesion area and macrophage accumulation in the vessel wall.


We have tested whether a similar reduction in macrophage accumulation could be achieved pharmacologically by treating apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice with the chemokine inhibitor NR58-3.14.3.


Mice treated for various periods of time (from several days to 6 months) with NR58-3.14.3 (approximately 30 mg/kg/day) consistently had 30-40% fewer macrophages in vascular lesions, compared with mice treated with the inactive control NR58-3.14.4 or PBS vehicle. Similarly, cleaved collagen staining was lower in mice treated for up to 7 days, although this effect was not maintained when treatment time was extended to 12 weeks. The vascular lipid lesion area was unaffected by treatment, but total collagen I staining and smooth muscle cell number were both increased, suggesting that a shift to a more stable plaque phenotype had been achieved.


Strategies, such as chemokine inhibition, to attenuate macrophage accumulation may therefore be useful to promote stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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