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Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(1-2):117-27.

Antioxidants inhibit the expression of intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 induced by oxidized LDL on human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

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Istituto di Semeiotica e Nefrologia Medica, Università di Verona, Italy.


The oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and the endothelial expression of adhesion molecules are key events in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this study we evaluated the effect of oxidized LDL on the expression of intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The hypothesis that oxidized LDL functions as a prooxidant signal was also evaluated, by studying the effect of different radical-scavenging antioxidants on expression of adhesion molecules. LDL was oxidized by using Cu2+, HUVECs or phospholipase A2 (PLA2)/ soybean lipoxygenase (SLO), the degree of oxidation being measured as thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and conjugated dienes (CD). Exposure of 200 micrograms/ml of native LDL to 1 microns Cu2+, HUVECs and to PLA2/ SLO resulted in four- to fivefold higher levels of TBARS and CD than in native LDL. Cu(2+)-(1 microM), HUVEC-, and PLA2/SLO-oxidized LDL caused a dose-dependent, significant increase of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 (p < .01). The expression of E-selectin did not change. LDL oxidized with a 2.5 and 5 microM Cu2+ did not increase ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 significantly. Both the Cu(2+)- and HUVEC-oxidized LDL, subjected to dialysis and ultrafiltration, induced ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression. After incubation with the ultrafiltrate, the expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was not significantly different from that obtained with native LDL. LDL pretreated with different antioxidants (vitamin E and probucol) and subjected to oxidation by Cu2+ and HUVECs induced a significantly lower expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 than nonloaded LDL (p < .01). The pretreatment of HUVECs with vitamin E and probucol significantly reduced the expression of VCAM-1 on HUVECs induced by oxidized LDL (p < .01); the effect on ICAM-1 was much less evident. In conclusion, oxidized LDL can induce the expression of different adhesion molecules on HUVECs; this induction can be prevented by pretreating either the LDL or the cells with radical-scavenging antioxidant.

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