Cholesterol-Induced Membrane Microvesicles As Novel Carriers of Damage–Associated Molecular Patterns
Mechanisms of Formation, Action, and Detoxification
Objective—Cholesterol enrichment occurs in vivo when phagocytes ingest retained and aggregated lipoproteins, damaged or senescent cells, and related debris. We previously reported that enrichment of human monocyte/macrophages with unesterified cholesterol (UC) triggers the release of highly procoagulant microvesicles ([MVs], also called microparticles) through induction of apoptosis. We determined whether UC-induced MVs (UCMVs) might transmit endogenous danger signals and, if so, what molecular processes might be responsible for their production, recognition, and detoxification.
Methods and Results—Injection of UCMVs into rats provoked extensive leukocyte rolling and adherence to postcapillary venules in vivo. Likewise, exposure of mouse aortic explants or cultured human endothelial cells to UCMVs augmented the adhesion of human monocytes by several folds and increased endothelial cell intercellular adhesion molecule-1 via nuclear factor-κB activation. To explore molecular mechanisms, we found that UC enrichment of human monocytes, in the absence of other stimuli, induced mitochondrial complex II–dependent accumulation of superoxide and peroxides. A subset of these moieties was exported on UCMVs and mediated endothelial activation. Strikingly, aortic explants from mice lacking lectin–like oxidized low–density lipoprotein receptor-1, a pattern-recognition receptor, were essentially unable to respond to UCMVs, whereas simultaneously treated explants from wild-type mice responded robustly by increasing monocyte recruitment. Moreover, high-density lipoprotein and its associated enzyme paraoxonase-1 exerted unexpected roles in the detoxification of UCMVs.
Conclusion—Overall, our study implicates MVs from cholesterol–loaded human cells as novel carriers of danger signals. By promoting maladaptive immunologic and thrombotic responses, these particles may contribute to atherothrombosis and other conditions in vivo.
- Received June 6, 2011.
- Accepted July 9, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.