Antiatherogenic Properties of High-Density Lipoprotein–Enriched MicroRNAs
The accumulation of cholesterol in the arterial wall initiates the progression of atherosclerosis, which is one of the major causes of death in Western societies.1,2 Excess cholesterol must be removed and transported from the peripheral tissues to the liver for its reutilization or its excretion into feces in a physiological process traditionally known as reverse cholesterol transport.3 During reverse cholesterol transport, plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is thought to function as a sterol transporter that facilitates the movement of sterols from peripheral cells to the liver. In addition to its role in regulating reverse cholesterol transport, many studies have shown that HDL may also have antiatherogenic properties.4,5 Indeed, HDL decreases endothelium inflammation and oxidative stress and increases nitric oxide production and endothelial cell (EC) survival, thus preventing atherogenesis.6–8 Although these observations have been reported in several studies, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are still unclear.
In a recent report published in the February 28, 2014, issue of Nature Communications, Tabet et al9 showed that HDL can transfer microRNAs to ECs, influencing gene expression in the recipient cell. MicroRNAs …