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Am J Pathol. 1997 May;150(5):1687-99.

Role of macrophage colony-stimulating factor in atherosclerosis: studies of osteopetrotic mice.

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Department of Medicine, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


Previous in vitro and in vivo studies have suggested that macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) plays a role in atherogenesis. To examine this hypothesis, we have studied atherogenesis in osteopetrotic (op/op) mice, which lack M-CSF due to a structural gene mutation. Atherogenesis was induced either by feeding the mice a high fat, high cholesterol diet or by crossing op mice with apolipoprotein E (apo E) knockout mice to generate mice lacking both M-CSF and apo E. In both the dietary and apo E knockout models, M-CSF deficiency resulted in significantly reduced atherogenesis. For example, in the apo E knockout model, homozygosity for the op mutation totally abolished aortic atherogenesis in male mice and reduced the size of the lesions approximately 97% in female mice. Mice heterozygous for the op mutation also exhibited a significant decrease in lesion size. Among apo E knockout mice, the frequency of atherosclerosis in aortic arch was 0/6 (op/op), 1/15 (op/+), and 12/16 (+/+). The effect of the M-CSF on atherosclerosis did not appear to be mediated by changes in plasma lipoproteins, as the op mice exhibited higher levels of atherogenic lipoprotein particles. The effects of the op mutation on atherogenesis may have resulted from decreased circulating monocytes, reduced tissue macrophages, or diminished arterial M-CSF.

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