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Circulation. 1998 Sep 15;98(11):1108-15.

Induction of early atherosclerosis in LDL-receptor-deficient mice immunized with beta2-glycoprotein I.

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From the Research Unit of Autoimmune Diseases, Department of Medicine B, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.



Immunization with beta2-glycoprotein I (beta2GPI), the probable target of autoimmune anticardiolipin antibodies, results in experimental antiphospholipid syndrome in different mouse strains. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of beta2GPI immunization on the progression of atherosclerosis.


In the first experiment, 3 groups of LDL receptor-deficient (LDL-RD) mice (n=15 per group) were immunized with either beta2GPI or ovalbumin or were not immunized and were fed a chow diet for 12 weeks. In a second experiment, 3 groups of LDL-RD mice (n=10 per group) were immunized similarly and fed an atherogenic diet for 6 weeks. All beta2GPI-immunized mice developed high titers of anti-beta2GPI antibodies as well as a specific lymph node proliferation to beta2GPI. The average cholesterol levels did not differ between the mice fed similar diets, regardless of the immunization protocol. Atherosclerosis was enhanced in the beta2GPI-immunized mice (mean aortic lesion, 26 000+/-5700 microm2) in comparison with their ovalbumin-immunized (mean, 3000+/-1099 microm2; P<0.01) and nonimmunized (mean, 2250+/-700 microm2; P<0.01) littermates. The average lesion size in the beta2GPI-immunized mice fed an atherogenic diet (mean, 98 000+/-8305 microm2) was larger than the ovalbumin-immunized mice (mean, 81 250+/-12 933 microm2; P=NS) or the nonimmunized controls (mean, 75 625+/-7281 microm2; P=NS). The atherosclerotic plaques in the beta2GPI-immunized mice appeared to be more mature, and denser infiltration of CD4 lymphocytes was present in the subendothelium of the aortic sinuses from this group of mice.


The results of the present study provide the first direct evidence for the proatherogenic effect of ss2GPI immunization and establish a new model for immune-mediated atherosclerosis.

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