Orally Administered Eicosapentaenoic Acid Induces Rapid Regression of Atherosclerosis Via Modulating the Phenotype of Dendritic Cells in LDL Receptor-Deficient Mice
Objective—Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular diseases, although the precise mechanism is unknown. We investigated the effect of EPA on the regression of atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results—LDL-receptor–deficient mice were fed a high-cholesterol diet for 8 weeks to build up aortic sinus atherosclerotic lesions and then were fed a normal diet with or without 5% EPA for 4 weeks. Atherosclerotic lesions were histologically assessed, and immunologic assays were performed. EPA treatment significantly regressed atherosclerosis (−22.7%, P<0.05) and decreased the content of macrophages, CD4+ T cells, and dendritic cells (DCs) in atherosclerotic lesions, though only changing the chow never induced the regression. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that EPA increased immature DCs (CD11c+ CD80− CD86−), increased the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in DCs, and decreased the number of CD4+ T cells. In the presence of the IDO inhibitor, the beneficial effects of EPA on regression were inhibited, suggesting that the effect of EPA was mainly mediated through IDO.
Conclusion—In addition to lowering plasma cholesterol, EPA regressed atherosclerosis probably due to modulation of DC phenotype and reduction in T cell numbers. The present findings might partly explain the beneficial effects of EPA in clinics and support clinical evidence.
- Received January 24, 2011.
- Accepted May 11, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.