Abstract 168: The Acceleration of Foam Cell Formation by Chlamydia Pneumoniae Requires Nlrp3 Inflammasome Activation and Il-1 Signaling
Background & Objective: Foam cell formation (FCF) due to excessive accumulation of cholesterol by macrophages is a pathological hallmark of atherosclerosis. Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cp) promotes FCF in the presence of oxLDL, but the exact molecular mechanisms are still not completely delineated. Recent data indicates that the Nlrp3 inflammasome plays an important role in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Here we investigated the role of the Nlrp3 inflammasome during the acceleration of FCF by Cp infection.
Methods and Results: In order to determine if the NLRP3 inflammasome played a role in Cp infection induced acceleration of FCF, we treated resident peritoneal macrophages exposed to oxLDL and Cp with the IL-1R antagonist, Anakinra, to block IL-1 signaling. Treatment with Anakinra resulted in a significant reduction in FCF. Nlrp3-/-, Casp1-/-, and WT macrophages were also treated with live Cp in the presence or absence of oxLDL. We found that Nlrp3-/- and Casp1-/- macrophages had significantly less FCF compared with WT cells. Interestingly, both ABCA1 (cholesterol efflux transporter) and its transcription factor, liver X receptor (LXR-α), were increased in Nlrp3-/- and Casp1-/- macrophages compared with WT cells. Addition of rIL-1β to Nlrp3-/- macrophages led to a decrease in ABCA1 expression and greater FCF. Importantly, Il1r-/- macrophages also had greater ABCA1 expression and reduced FCF when exposed to oxLDL and Cp infection.
Conclusion: These data suggest that Cp infection facilitates foam cell formation in the presence of oxLDL by producing NLRP3 dependent IL-1 cytokines, which then feed back on the macrophages and interferes with cholesterol efflux by negatively regulating ABCA1. In the absence of IL-1 signaling, the expression of ABCA1 is upregulated leading to greater cholesterol efflux and reduced FCF. Thus we have identified a novel regulatory loop controlling FCF. Understanding these interacting pathways will lead to new therapeutic strategies against atherosclerosis.
Author Disclosures: G. Tumurkhuu: None. J. Dagvadorj: None. T.R. Crother: None. K. Shimada: None. M. Arditi: None. S. Chen: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.