Expression of LDL receptor-related protein/alpha 2-macroglobulin receptor in human normal and atherosclerotic arteries.
Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein/alpha 2-macroglobulin receptor (LRP/alpha 2-MR) is a multifunctional cell-surface receptor that is responsible for the clearance of lipoprotein remnants, proteases, or cytokines/growth factors in complex with alpha 2-macroglobulin as well as of plasminogen activators complexed with inhibitors. We investigated the expression of LRP/alpha 2-MR in healthy and atherosclerotic human arteries by in situ hybridization using an LRP/alpha 2-MR mRNA-specific riboprobe and immunocytochemistry using specific monoclonal antibodies. The cell types expressing LRP/alpha 2-MR were identified by immunolabeling of antigens specific for endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages. In normal arteries, LRP/alpha 2-MR mRNA and protein were found in smooth muscle cells of the media and vasa vasorum and in adventitial fibroblasts. Endothelial cells were negative for LRP/alpha 2-MR protein but positive for its mRNA. Atherosclerotic arteries exhibited a strong labeling for LRP/alpha 2-MR mRNA and protein that was observed in intimal smooth muscle cells exhibiting normal or foam cell characteristics and in lipid-laden cells positive for macrophage markers. A particularly high expression was detected in macrophages located in the cap of the lipid-rich necrotic core. These results suggest that cellular components of the atherosclerotic plaque express LRP/alpha 2-MR. This receptor may play an important local scavenger role for lipoprotein remnants, for growth factors/cytokines, and for extracellular protease-inhibitor complexes.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association