Abstract 132: CETP Deficiency in Rabbits Protects High Fat High Cholesterol Diet Induced Atherosclerosis
CETP has been suggested as an effective and promising target for further reducing cardiovascular events through elevation of the HDL-C levels. The failure of Pfizer’s torcetrapib and Roche’s dalcetrapib raised the question whether increased HDL from pharmacological inhibition of CETP are cardioprotective. Because mice lack CETP naturally, we generated CETP knockout (KO) rabbits by Zinc-finger nucleases (ZFN) to gain insights onto CETP and HDL biology in CVD. The ZFN pairs target on exon 3 of rabbit CETP gene. By microinjection of ZFN mRNA into rabbit embryos, we generated 5 CETP knockout (CETPko) founder rabbits. The founder used for this study contained 4 nucleotides deletion in exon 3 that results in a premature stop codon. Western blot confirms that there is no detectable CETP protein in the homozygous CETPko rabbit plasma and liver. No CETP activity was detected in the CETPko rabbit plasma, consistent with their genotype. At the normal chow fed conditions, there is no significant difference between wild type and CETPko male rabbits in plasma HDLc and total cholesterol (TC) level; whereas female CETPko rabbits show 40 to 100% increase in both HDLc and TC levels compared to wild type ones. By sequential ultracentrifugation method to separate plasma lipoproteins, we found that there is much higher HDL3 component in female CETPko rabbits, but not in male CETPko ones, comparing to their WT age matched control. At the HFHC (3% soy bean oil and 0.3% cholesterol) diet fed conditions, both male and female CETPko rabbits show significantly lower level of TC and LDLc compared to wild type rabbits. At the same time, the HDLc levels are significantly higher in the CETPko rabbits. In addition, apoB depleted plasma from CETPko rabbit showed 2-fold increase in cholesterol efflux tested in human THP1 cells. Furthermore, we measured the atherosclerotic plaque in the rabbit aorta after 16 weeks HFHC diet treatment. The total gross lesion areas in CETPko rabbits were only one-third of those in the wild type rabbits. In conclusion, our study shows that genetic deficiency of CETP in rabbits has beneficial effects on enhancing HDL function and reducing atherosclerosis. Our work sheds light on CETP and HDL biology, and provides valuable information to the development of CETP drugs.
Author Disclosures: J. Zhang: None. J. Xu: None. J. Liang: None. D. Yang: None. Y. Guo: None. T. Zhu: None. J. Song: None. M. Niimi: None. L. Lai: None. J. Fan: None. Y. Chen: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.