Positive Cross-Talk Between Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α and Liver X Receptor α Induces Formation of Triglyceride-Loaded Foam Cells
Objective—Atherosclerosis is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease of the arteries that is characterized by subendothelial accumulation of lipid-rich macrophages, called foam cells. We sought to identify the molecular details of cross-talk between liver X receptor α (LXRα) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) for the formation of triglyceride-rich foam cells under hypoxic conditions.
Methods and Results—We first observed that expression of LXRα and its target lipogenic genes was time-dependently induced in human primary macrophages and RAW 264.7 cells under hypoxia. Similarly, TO901317, an activator of LXRα, enhanced the expression level and the transcriptional activity of HIF-1α. Second, we demonstrated that LXRα increased HIF-1α protein stability through a physical interaction between the ligand binding domain of LXRα and the oxygen-dependent degradation domain of HIF-1α. Third, we found that the activation of HIF-1α or LXRα synergistically induced triglyceride accumulation in macrophages. Finally, we showed that LXRα and HIF-1α were codistributed in the macrophages of atherosclerotic lesions of patients.
Conclusion—These results suggest that the positive feed-forward regulation of transcriptional activity and protein stability of LXRα and HIF-1α has an important impact in foam cell formation.
- Received April 8, 2011.
- Accepted August 31, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.