Abstract 361: Activation of Wnt Pathway in Macrophages During Atherosclerosis Regression
Introduction and Objective: Transcriptome analysis of plaque macrophages in two different mouse models of atherosclerosis regression revealed an over representation of consensus binding site sequences for the T-cell factor (TCF)/Lymphoid enhancer binding factor (LEF) family of transcription factors, suggesting canonical Wnt signaling pathway activation during regression in vivo. The canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is important for cardiac development and regulates processes such as migration, invasion and tissue repair. However, its function in plaque macrophages is unclear. The objective of the study was to understand the role of canonical Wnt signaling in macrophages during regression using in vivo and in vitro approaches.
Methods and Results: Immunohistochemistry of atherosclerotic arterial sections in mouse models of atherosclerosis regression (Reversa and aortic arch transplant) showed a significant increase in β-catenin expression in regressing vs. progressing macrophages. Elevated transcript levels of canonical Wnt downstream targets Ctnnb1, Lrp1 and Gja1 were detected in regressing plaque macrophages isolated by laser capture microdissection (LCM). Canonical Wnt signaling was further investigated in Wnt3a-stimulated primary bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) in vitro, revealing upregulation of pathway target genes Ctnnb1 and Axin2. Furthermore, immunofluorescence analysis of BMDM stimulated with Wnt3a showed increased nuclear expression of β-catenin. Macrophage cell migration evaluated by scratch wound assay revealed a significant increase in migration in Wnt3a-treated vs. untreated BMDM.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that canonical Wnt signaling is activated in regressing plaque macrophages and regulates macrophage migration in vitro. Future studies are aimed at understanding the mechanism by which Wnt modulates macrophage migration.
Author Disclosures: P. Menon: None. Y. Vengrenyuk: None. Y. Ogando: None. S. Ramsey: None. E. Gold: None. E. Fisher: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.