Peroxisome Proliferator–Activated Receptor-α Gene Level Differently Affects Lipid Metabolism and Inflammation in Apolipoprotein E2 Knock-In Mice
Objective—Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α (PPARα) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that controls lipid metabolism and inflammation. PPARα is activated by fibrates, hypolipidemic drugs used in the treatment of dyslipidemia. Previous studies assessing the influence of PPARα agonists on atherosclerosis in mice yielded conflicting results, and the implication of PPARα therein has not been assessed. The human apolipoprotein E2 knock-in (apoE2-KI) mouse is a model of mixed dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The aim of this study was to analyze, using homo- and heterozygous PPARα-deficient mice, the consequences of quantitative variations of PPARα gene levels and their response to the synthetic PPARα agonist fenofibrate on NASH and atherosclerosis in apoE2-KI mice.
Methods and Results—Wild-type (+/+), heterozygous (+/−), and homozygous (−/−) PPARα-deficient mice in the apoE2-KI background were generated and subjected to a Western diet supplemented with fenofibrate or not supplemented. Western diet–fed PPARα−/− apoE2-KI mice displayed an aggravation of liver steatosis and inflammation compared with PPARα+/+ and PPARα+/− apoE2-KI mice, indicating a role of PPARα in liver protection. Moreover, PPARα expression was required for the fenofibrate-induced protection against NASH. Interestingly, fenofibrate treatment induced a similar response on hepatic lipid metabolism in PPARα+/+ and PPARα+/− apoE2-KI mice, whereas, for a maximal antiinflammatory response, both alleles of the PPARα gene were required. Surprisingly, atherosclerosis development was not significantly different among PPARα+/+, PPARα+/−, and PPARα−/− apoE2-KI mice. However, PPARα gene level determined both the antiatherosclerotic and vascular antiinflammatory responses to fenofibrate in a dose-dependent manner.
Conclusion—These results demonstrate a necessary but quantitatively different role of PPARα in the modulation of liver metabolism, inflammation, and atherogenesis.
- Received November 22, 2010.
- Accepted March 28, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.