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Dis Model Mech. 2008 Sep-Oct;1(2-3):175-81; discussion 179. doi: 10.1242/dmm.000547. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

PECAM-1 is a critical mediator of atherosclerosis.

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La Jolla Bioengineering Institute, 505 Coast Boulevard South, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of large arteries in which lesion development preferentially occurs at vessel sites exposed to rapid changes in flow. We have previously shown that platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1), a surface receptor of the immunoglobulin superfamily, is involved in mechanosensing of rapid changes in flow. We wondered whether apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mice, predisposed to development of atheromas, would be protected from atherosclerosis by deficiency in PECAM-1. Using double knockout (DKO) mice for both PECAM-1 and ApoE (ApoE(-/-)/PECAM-1(-/-)) we found a significant reduction of sudanophilic lesions in their aortae compared to single knockout (SKO) (ApoE(-/-)/PECAM-1(+/+)) mice maintained on a high-fat Western diet. Immunostaining of aortic sinus cross sections demonstrated significantly lower ICAM-1 expression in DKO lesions compared with SKO lesions, and en face preparations of vessel regions subjected to disturbed and laminar flow showed less disruption of junctional connexin 43 in DKO than in SKO mice. Thus, PECAM-1 deficiency reduced the extent of lesions at the aortic arch and the aortic sinus, and lowered atherogenic indices. These results suggest that PECAM-1 is an important factor in the atherogenic changes seen in the ApoE-deficient mouse model and thus should be considered as a potential target for protection against atherosclerosis.

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