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Oxidative modification of LDL increases its atherogenicity, and 15- lipoxygenase (15-LO) has been implicated in the process. To address this issue, we generated transgenic rabbits that expressed 15-LO in a macrophage- specific manner and studied their susceptibility to atherosclerosis development when they were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol (HFHC) diet (Teklad 0533 rabbit diet 7009 with 10% corn oil and 0.25% cholesterol) for 13.5 wk. Transgenic and nontransgenic rabbits developed similar degrees of hypercholesterolemia and had similar levels of triglyceride, VLDL, LDL, and HDL. Quantitative morphometric analysis of the aortic atherosclerosis indicated that the transgenic animals (n = 19) had significantly smaller lesion areas (9.8 ± 6.5%, mean ± SD) than their littermate controls (n = 14, 17.8 ± 15.0%) (P < 0.05). In a subgroup (n = 9) of transgenic rabbits that received the HFHC diet plus the antioxidant N',N'-diphenyl- phenylenediamine (1%), the extent of lesion involvement (9.8 ± 7.5%) did not differ from the subgroup (n = 10) that received the regular HFHC diet (9.7 ± 5.9%). Since the results were unexpected, we repeated the experiments. Again, we found that the nontransgenic littermates (n = 12) had more extensive lesions (11.6 ± 10.6%) than the transgenic rabbits (n = 13; 9.5 ± 7.8%), although the difference was not significant. In a third set of experiments, we crossed 15-LO transgenic rabbits with Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits and found that the lesion area in the 15-LO transgenic/heterozygous WHHL rabbits (n = 14) was only about one third (7.7 ± 5.7%) that found in nontransgenic heterozygous WHHL littermate controls (n = 11, 20.7 ± 19.4%) (P < 0.05). These data suggest that overexpression of 15-LO in monocytes/macrophages protects against lipid deposition in the vessel wall during early atherogenesis in these rabbit models of atherosclerosis.


© Journal of Clinical Investigation. Original version available at:

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Journal of Clinical Investigation





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