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Physiology - Surgery

Leukocyte ABCA1 Remains Atheroprotective in Splenectomized LDL Receptor Knockout Mice
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Author: Bart Lammers et al.

by Bart Lammers, Ying Zhao, Amanda C. Foks, Reeni B. Hildebrand, Johan Kuiper, Theo J. C. Van Berkel, Miranda Van Eck


ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) is an important mediator of macrophage cholesterol efflux. It mediates the efflux of cellular cholesterol to lipid-poor apolipoprotein A-I. LDL receptor (LDLr) knockout (KO) mice deficient for leukocyte ABCA1 (ABCA1 KO?LDLr KO) show increased atherosclerosis and splenic lipid accumulation despite largely attenuated serum cholesterol levels. In the present study, we aimed to explore the importance of the spleen for the atheroprotective effects of leukocyte ABCA1.


LDLr KO mice were transplanted with bone marrow from ABCA1 KO mice or wild-type (WT) controls. After 8 weeks recovery, mice were either splenectomized (SP-x) or underwent a sham operation, and were subsequently challenged with a Western-type diet (WTD).


In agreement with previous studies, the atherosclerotic lesion area in ABCA1 KO?LDLr KO sham animals (655±82×103 µm2) was 1.4-fold (p?=?0.03) larger compared to sham WT?LDLr KO mice (459±33×103 µm2) after 8 weeks WTD feeding, despite 1.7-fold (p<0.001) lower serum cholesterol levels. Interestingly, deletion of ABCA1 in leukocytes led to 1.6-fold higher neutrophil content in the spleen in absence of differences in circulating neutrophils. Levels of KC, an important chemoattractant for neutrophils, in serum, however, were increased 2.9-fold (p?=?0.07) in ABCA1 KO?LDLr KO mice. SP-x induced blood neutrophilia as compared to WT?LDLr KO mice (1.9-fold; p<0.05), but did not evoke differences in serum cholesterol and anti-oxLDL antibody levels. Atherosclerotic lesion development, however, was 1.3-fold induced both in the presence and absence of leukocyte ABCA1 (WT: 614±106×103 µm2, ABCA1 KO: 786±44×103 µm2). Two-way ANOVA revealed independent effects on atherosclerosis for both leukocyte ABCA1 deficiency and SP-x (p<0.05).


The observed splenic alterations induced by leukocyte ABCA1 deficiency do not play a significant role in the anti-atherogenic effects of leukocyte ABCA1 on lesion development.