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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Spontaneous atherothrombosis and medial degradation in Apoe-/-, Npc1-/- mice.

BACKGROUND: The formation of an occluding thrombus on a ruptured or eroded atherosclerotic plaque is the hallmark event leading to acute coronary syndromes, myocardial infarction, and sudden death in humans. However, other species are highly resistant to plaque complications, and the specific processes predisposing to plaque destabilization and thrombosis are poorly understood. METHODS AND RESULTS: Mice carrying a null mutation of a gene regulating intracellular cholesterol transport (the Niemann-Pick C1 [Npc1] gene) were crossed with apolipoprotein E (Apoe) knockout mice to examine the effect of Npc1 on atherosclerotic lesion formation. Double-mutant mice showed greater lesion area compared with Apoe-/- littermates. Remarkably, the double mutants also developed large, protruding thrombi associated with the plaques and prominent medial degradation with inflammatory cell infiltration into the adventitia. Genetic studies suggested that the BALB background was permissive for plaque complications compared with C57BL/6J, and a BALB susceptibility locus was mapped by linkage analysis to chromosome 6. Examination of clotting parameters in double-knockout mice revealed that native clotting times were shortened and thrombin-antithrombin complex and soluble CD40 ligand levels were elevated compared with wild-type controls. In addition, cathepsin K was induced in Npc1-/- macrophages, and cathepsin K immunostaining and elastase activity were increased in proximal aortas of double-mutant mice compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS: A defect in intracellular cholesterol trafficking caused by the Npc1 null mutation predisposes to increased lesion formation, atherothrombosis, and medial degradation. Plaque complications may require a procoagulant state and an increased protease activity, leading to plaque destabilization.[1]


  1. Spontaneous atherothrombosis and medial degradation in Apoe-/-, Npc1-/- mice. Welch, C.L., Sun, Y., Arey, B.J., Lemaitre, V., Sharma, N., Ishibashi, M., Sayers, S., Li, R., Gorelik, A., Pleskac, N., Collins-Fletcher, K., Yasuda, Y., Bromme, D., D'Armiento, J.M., Ogletree, M.L., Tall, A.R. Circulation (2007) [Pubmed]
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