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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Dec 30;338(4):1982-9. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Immunization using an Apo B-100 related epitope reduces atherosclerosis and plaque inflammation in hypercholesterolemic apo E (-/-) mice.

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Atherosclerosis Research Center, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine and Burns and Allen Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Immune system modulates atherosclerosis and immunization using homologous LDL reduces atherosclerosis in hyperlipidemic animals. The nature of athero-protective antigenic epitopes in LDL remains unclear. We have recently identified nearly a 100 antigenic epitopes in human apo B-100 and in this study we evaluated the effects of immunization with two such epitopes on atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic apo E (-/-) mice. Male apo E (-/-) mice were immunized at 6-7 weeks of age with two different apo B-100 related peptide sequences using alum as adjuvant and mice immunized with alum alone served as controls. Peptide-2 immunization reduced aortic atherosclerosis by 40% and plaque inflammation by 80% compared to controls without a reduction in circulating cholesterol levels whereas Peptide-1 immunization had no effect. Peptide-2 immunization also reduced the progression of aortic lesions when mice were immunized at 16 weeks of age, suggesting the possibility of immuno-modulation in treating established atherosclerosis. The athero-protective effect of Peptide-2 immunization was absent in splenectomized mice but could be conveyed to non-immunized mice via adoptive transfer of splenocytes from peptide-2 immunized mice. In conclusion, immunization with a specific apo B-100 related peptide sequence reduces aortic atherosclerosis and plaque inflammation. Such acquired immunity and athero-protective effect appears to be mediated by splenocytes. These data demonstrate the feasibility of peptide based immunomodulating therapy for atherosclerosis.

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