Lipids, monocytes, and arterial wall cells are primary components involved in atherogenesis. Using the inbred mouse strains C57BL/6J (B6) and C3H/HeJ (C3H), which have been extensively studied as models of the genetic control of diet-induced atherosclerosis, we examined which of these components determine genetic susceptibility. To test whether dietary responsiveness is involved, a congenic strain of C3H carrying an apoE-null allele (apoE(-/-)) was constructed. Although C3H.apoE(-/-) mice had higher plasma cholesterol levels, they developed much smaller lesions than their B6.apoE(-/-) counterpart on either chow or Western diets. Reciprocal bone marrow transplantation between the strains, with congenics carrying the same H-2 haplotype, was performed to examine the role of monocytes. The atherosclerosis susceptibility was not altered in the recipient mice, indicating that variations in monocyte function were not involved. Endothelial cells isolated from the aorta of B6 mice exhibited a dramatic induction of monocyte chemotactic protein-1, macrophage colony-stimulating factor, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and heme oxygenase-1 in response to minimally modified LDL, whereas endothelial cells from C3H mice showed little or no induction. In a set of recombinant inbred strains derived from the B6 and C3H parental strains, endothelial responses to minimally modified LDL cosegregated with aortic lesion size. These data provide strong evidence that endothelial cells, but not monocytes or plasma lipid levels, account for the difference in susceptibility to atherosclerosis between the 2 mouse strains.
- Inbred strains
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine