Abstract 141: The Loss of Nrf2 Enhances Vascular Inflammation but Reduces Atherosclerosis via Effects on Plasma Lipids in LDL Receptor Deficient Mice Fed High Fat Diet
OBJECTIVE Transcription factor NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulates antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes affording cytoprotection in the cardiovascular system. We have previously reported that Nrf2 deficiency specific to bone marrow derived cells aggravates atherosclerosis in LDL receptor deficient (LDLR-/-) mice. Furthermore, Nrf2 deficiency in macrophages enhances foam cell formation and promotes the proinflammatory phenotype. In contrast, the total loss of Nrf2 has been shown to protect against atherogenesis in apoE-deficient mice. The mechanism by which Nrf2 deficiency affords atheroprotection in apoE-model is currently unknown, but combined systemic and local vascular effects have been proposed. Given these contrasting results, we aimed at assessing the effect of total loss of Nrf2 on atherogenesis in hypercholesterolemic LDLR-/- mice.
METHODS AND RESULTS Nrf2-/- mice were cross-bred to LDLR-/- mice and fed a high fat diet (HFD) for 6 or 12 weeks. The degree of atherosclerosis was assessed from the cross-sections of proximal aorta. Nrf2 deficiency decreased atherosclerosis in females from 17.2±8.7 % (mean ±SD, n=11-25) to 12.3±4.6 % (p=0.1) and in males from 11.2±3.9 % to 7.6±4.6 % (p=0.025) after 6 weeks on HFD. After 12 weeks on HFD the effects were more pronounced, as Nrf2 deficiency decreased atherosclerosis from 36.5±5.5 % to 30.3±3.5 % in females (p=0.001) and from 30.6±5.7 % to 21.3±6.9 % in males (p=0.005). Nrf2 deficiency also increased the macrophage content relative to lesion area. Supporting systemic effects, Nrf2 deficiency reduced plasma total cholesterol from 24.0±8.4 mmol/l to 10.6±6,7 mmol/l (p=0.006) and triglyceride levels from 3.6±1.4 mmol/l to 1.7±1.2 mmol/l (p=0.008) in males after 6 weeks on HFD.
CONCLUSIONS In contrast to bone marrow specific Nrf2 deficiency, total loss of Nrf2 aggravates atherosclerosis in LDLR-/- mice likely via systemic effects on lipid metabolism.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.