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Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Apr 12;10:53. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-53.

Oleic acid induces smooth muscle foam cell formation and enhances atherosclerotic lesion development via CD36.

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1
Department of Cardiology, General Hospital of PLA Chengdu Military Area Command, PR China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Elevated plasma free fatty acid (FFA) levels have been linked to the development of atherosclerosis. However, how FFA causes atherosclerosis has not been determined. Because fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36) is responsible for the uptake of FFA, we hypothesized that the atherogenic effects of FFA may be mediated via CD36.

RESULTS:

We tested this hypothesis using cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) treated with oleic acid (OA). We found that OA induces lipid accumulation in SMCs in a dose dependent manner. Rat aortic SMCs treated for 48 hours with OA (250 μmol/L) became foam cells based on morphological (Oil Red O staining) and biochemical (5 times increase in cellular triglyceride) criteria. Moreover, specific inhibition of CD36 by sulfo-N-succinimidyl oleate significantly attenuated OA induced lipid accumulation and foam cell formation. To confirm these results in vivo, we used ApoE-deficient mice fed with normal chow (NC), OA diet, NC plus lipolysis inhibitor acipimox or OA plus acipimox. OA-fed mice showed increased plasma FFA levels and enhanced atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic sinus compared to the NC group (both p < 0.01). This effect was partially reversed by acipimox (lesion area: OA: 3.09 ± 0.10 ×10(5) μm(2) vs. OA plus acipimox: 2.60 ± 0.10 ×10(5) μm(2), p < 0.05; FFA: OA: 0.91 ± 0.03 mmol/L vs. OA plus acipimox: 0.78 ± 0.03 mmol/L, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that OA induces smooth muscle foam cell formation and enhances atherosclerotic lesions in part though CD36. Furthermore, these findings provide a novel model for the investigation of atherosclerosis.

PMID:
21486455
PMCID:
PMC3083368
DOI:
10.1186/1476-511X-10-53
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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