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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 20;109(12):E715-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1111600109. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Diabetes promotes an inflammatory macrophage phenotype and atherosclerosis through acyl-CoA synthetase 1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


The mechanisms that promote an inflammatory environment and accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetes are poorly understood. We show that macrophages isolated from two different mouse models of type 1 diabetes exhibit an inflammatory phenotype. This inflammatory phenotype associates with increased expression of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSL1), an enzyme that catalyzes the thioesterification of fatty acids. Monocytes from humans and mice with type 1 diabetes also exhibit increased ACSL1. Furthermore, myeloid-selective deletion of ACSL1 protects monocytes and macrophages from the inflammatory effects of diabetes. Strikingly, myeloid-selective deletion of ACSL1 also prevents accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetic mice without affecting lesions in nondiabetic mice. Our observations indicate that ACSL1 plays a critical role by promoting the inflammatory phenotype of macrophages associated with type 1 diabetes; they also raise the possibilities that diabetic atherosclerosis has an etiology that is, at least in part, distinct from the etiology of nondiabetic vascular disease and that this difference is because of increased monocyte and macrophage ACSL1 expression.

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