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Front Physiol. 2012 Aug 3;3:313. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00313. eCollection 2012.

NFAT5 expression in bone marrow-derived cells enhances atherosclerosis and drives macrophage migration.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA, USA.



We have previously shown that the transcription factor, nuclear factor of activated T-cells 5 (NFAT5), regulates vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic modulation, but the role of NFAT5 in atherosclerosis is unknown. Our main objective was to determine if NFAT5 expression in bone marrow (BM)-derived cells altered atherosclerotic development and macrophage function.


NFAT5(+/-)ApoE(-/-) mice were generated for in vivo atherosclerosis studies. Following high fat diet feeding, en face analysis of the thoracic aorta established that genome-wide NFAT5 haploinsufficiency reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation by 73%. BM transplant studies revealed that transplantation of NFAT5(+/-)ApoE(-/-) marrow into NFAT5(+/+)ApoE(-/-) mice resulted in a similar 86% reduction in lesion formation. In vitro functional analysis of BM-derived macrophages demonstrated that NFAT5 is required for macrophage migration, which is a key event in the propagation of atherosclerosis.


We have identified NFAT5 in BM-derived cells as a positive regulator of atherosclerotic lesion formation and macrophage function in the vasculature.


TonEBP; atherosclerosis; bone marrow; macrophage; migration

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