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Circulation. 2006 Nov 28;114(22):2382-9. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Direct evidence for a crucial role of the arterial wall in control of atherosclerosis susceptibility.

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1
Department of Radiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inbred mouse strains C57BL/6J (B6) and C3H/HeJ (C3H) exhibit marked differences in atherosclerosis susceptibility. We sought to determine whether the difference in atherosclerosis susceptibility resides at the level of arterial walls.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Thoracic aortic segments from 8-week-old female B6 and C3H apolipoprotein E-deficient mice were transplanted into the infrarenal aorta of 10-week-old female F1 mice. After transplantation, recipients were maintained on a chow diet for 16 weeks. The donor aortic segments of B6 mice developed significantly larger atherosclerotic lesions than those of C3H (44,983+/-11,702 versus 5600+/-4885 microm2 per section; P=0.011). Expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 by endothelial cells was examined both in vitro and in vivo. B6 mice expressed significantly more VCAM-1 than their C3H counterparts. Sequence analysis of VCAM-1 cDNA revealed a nucleotide difference in the coding region that resulted in substitution of an amino acid in the protein product.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data provide direct proof that factors operating in the vessel wall, particularly endothelial cells, can serve as atherosclerosis modifiers and suggest a possibility for the contribution of VCAM-1 to atherosclerosis susceptibility.

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