15-Deoxy-Δ12,14 Prostaglandin J2 Reduces the Formation of Atherosclerotic Lesions in Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mice
14 Prostaglandin J2 Reduces the Formation of Atherosclerotic Lesions in
Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mice. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25541. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025541
12,14 15-Deoxy-D Prostaglandin J2 Reduces the Formation of Atherosclerotic Lesions in Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mice
Takahiro Seno 0
Masahide Hamaguchi 0
Eishi Ashihara 0
Masataka Kohno 0
Hidetaka Ishino 0
Aihiro Yamamoto 0
Masatoshi Kadoya 0
Kaoru Nakamura 0
Ken Murakami 0
Satoaki Matoba 0
Taira Maekawa 0
Yutaka Kawahito 0
Massimo Federici, University of Tor Vergata, Italy
0 1 Department of Inflammation and Immunology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan, 2 World Premier International Research Center, Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University , Osaka , Japan , 3 Department of Molecular Cell Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan, 4 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan, 5 Department of Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy, Kyoto University Hospital , Kyoto , Japan
Aim: 15-Deoxy-D12,14 Prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) is a ligand of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor c (PPARc) having diverse effects such as the differentiation of adipocytes and atherosclerotic lesion formation. 15d-PGJ2 can also regulate the expression of inflammatory mediators on immune cells independent of PPARc. We investigated the antiatherogenic effect of 15d-PGJ2. Methods: We fed apolipoprotein (apo) E-deficient female mice a Western-type diet from 8 to 16 wk of age and administered 1 mg/kg/day 15d-PGJ2 intraperitoneally. We measured atherosclerotic lesions at the aortic root, and examined the expression of macrophage and inflammatory atherosclerotic molecules by immunohistochemical and real-time PCR in the lesion. Results: Atherosclerotic lesion formation was reduced in apo E-null mice treated with 15d-PGJ2, as compared to in the controls. Immunohistochemical and real-time PCR analyses showed that the expression of MCP-1, TNF-a, and MMP-9 in atherosclerotic lesions was significantly decreased in 15d-PGJ2 treated mice. The 15d-PGJ2 also reduced the expression of macrophages and RelA mRNA in atherosclerotic lesions. Conclusion: This is the first report 15d-PGJ2, a natural PPARc agonist, can improve atherosclerotic lesions in vivo. 15d-PGJ2 may be a beneficial therapeutic agent for atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is now recognized as a chronic inflammatory
condition and remains the major cause of cardiovascular disease
. Over the past two decades, data have emerged showing that
immune cells, especially macrophages, are involved in the
formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor c (PPARc) is a
member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, and is expressed in
arterial wall cells, such as vascular smooth muscle cells, and
macrophages . Thiazolidinediones (TZDs), which are some of
the most common PPARc ligands, are insulin-sensitizing
antidiabetic agents causing the improvement of hypertension and
hypertriglyceridemia, both of which represent major risk factors
for atherosclerosis. TZDs can improve atherosclerosis by
decreasing these risk factors. A previous study indicated that troglitazone,
a TZD, had pleiotropic anti-atherosclerotic effects on the
expression of CD36 in atherosclerotic lesions and the serum level
of HDL, but the details of the mechanisms were not clear .
Another function of TZDs comprises its anti-mitogenic effect on
vascular smooth muscle cells . TZDs also inhibit macrophage
activation , monocyte migration , inflammatory cytokine
secretion by monocytes , and the expression of cell adhesion
molecules expressed by vascular endothelial cells [10,11]. Thus, a
variety of anti-atherosclerotic effects of TZDs are associated with
the regulation of inflammation caused by macrophages, but
elucidation of the mechanisms in detail is required.
The J series of prostaglandins (PGs) have been demonstrated to
regulate processes like inflammation and tumorgenesis .
15Deoxy-D12,14 Prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) is a metabolite of PGD2,
and is produced by mast cells, T cells, platelets and alveolar
macrophages. 15d-PGJ2 is recognized as an endogenous ligand for
the intranuclear receptor PPARc , which leads to inhibition of
phorbol ester-induced nitric oxide and macrophage-derived
cytokines, i.e., tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), IL-1 and IL-6.
15d-PGJ2 inhibits gene expression in part by antagonizing the
activities of transcription factors such as activator protein-1 and
nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) . Furthermore, 15d-PGJ2 has an
anti-atherosclerotic effect as a ligand of PPARc. Previous studies
have been shown that 15d-PGJ2 dose-dependently inhibits several
functions of endothelial cells related to angiogenesis, such as
proliferation, morphogenesis and migration in vitro .
Another study revealed that an increased plasma 15d-PGJ2
concentration was associated with the early and late neurological
outcomes, and a smaller infarct volume in ischemic stroke patients
. However, it remains unknown whether or not 15d-PGJ2 has
an anti-atherogenic effect in vivo. To investigate the effects of
15dPGJ2 on atherosclerotic lesion formation, we treated apo E
knockout mice, an animal model of atherosclerosis, with
15dPGJ2, and then examined the atherosclerotic lesions.
Apo E-knockout mice (C57BL/6J-Apoetm1Unc) were purchased
from the Jackson Laboratory (B6 background; The Jackson
Laboratory, Bar Habor, ME) . These mice were produced
by backcrossing the Apoetm1Unc mutation 10 times to C57BL/6J
mice. Mice were maintained under specific pathogen-free
conditions, and allowed ad libitum access to food and water.
Thirty female animals aged 8 wk (15 as controls and 15 for the
15d-PGJ2 experiments) were fed the Western-type diet containing
0.2% cholesterol and 21% saturated fat (Oriental Yeast, Tokyo,
Japan) for 8 wk. All mice received intraperitoneal injections of (1)
PBS (control group), and (2) 15d-PGJ2 (Cayman Chemicals, Ann
Arbor, USA), 1 mg/kg/day (15d-PGJ2 group), for 8 wk with a
high fat diet. Administration route and dosage of 15d-PGJ2 were
based on our previous study . The animal care and
experimental procedures conformed to the regulations of the
Animal Research Committee, Graduate School of Medicine,
Quantitative analyses of atherosclerotic lesions
Following blood collection, mice aged 16 wk treated with PBS
or 15d-PGJ2 were examined. After overnight fasting, blood was
collected from the cardiac cavity and analyzed for the lipid profile.
Also, aortae from the ascending portion to the end of the thoracic
aorta were removed and washed meticulously in cold PBS to
remove attached hematocytes and tissue fragments on the outside
the aortae. Proximal aortic roots were used for quantitative
analysis of the atherosclerotic area and whole thoracic aortae for
real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis.
Atherosclerotic lesions were quantitatively analyzed as
previously described [20,21]. In brief, the basal portion of the heart and
proximal aortic root were excised, embedded in OCT compound
(Sakura Finetek, Tokyo, Japan), and then frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Three serial cryosections per one aortic root of 10 mm thickness, at
40 mm intervals, of the aortic sinus were stained with oil-red O
(Wako Pure Chemical Industries Ltd, Osaka, Japan) and
hematoxylin. Other three cryosections per one aortic root were
stained with Massons trichrome (Kyodo Byori, Kobe, Japan) for
cellular components (red) and fibrous tissue (blue). Lesion images
were captured with a DMBA210 microscope (Shimadzu Rika,
Tokyo, Japan) equipped with Motic Images Plus2.2s software
(Shimadzu Rika, Tokyo, Japan). The captured images were
analyzed with Image J software (NIH, USA). We calculated the
oil-red O positive area, fibrotic area and aortic root area and
Immunohistochemistry was performed on 10 mm thick
cryosections as described above. Tissue sections were immersed for
30 min in 0.3% hydrogen peroxide in methanol to block
endogenous peroxidase activity. Nonspecific binding sites were
saturated by exposure to 0.2% bovine serum albumin and normal
serum for 30 min. Rat monoclonal anti-mouse macrophages
(MOMA-2; AbD Serotec, Oxford, United Kingdom), goat
antimouse monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1; Santa Cruz
Biotechnology Inc., California, USA), rabbit anti-mouse
macrophage migration inflammatory factor (MIF; Life Technologies,
California, USA), goat anti-mouse TNF-a (R&D Systems,
Minnesota, USA), goat anti-mouse matrix metallopeptidase-9
(MMP-9; Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc., California, USA) and
goat anti-mouse PPARc (Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc.,
California, USA) Abs were used as primary Abs. These primary
anti-mouse macrophage Abs (1/50 dilution in PBS), anti-mouse
MCP-1 Abs (1/100 dilution in PBS), anti-mouse MIF Abs (1/00
dilution in PBS), anti-mouse TNF-a Abs (1/100 dilution in PBS),
anti-mouse MMP-9 Abs (1/100 dilution in PBS), anti-mouse
PPARc Abs (1/100 dilution in PBS) and control normal serum
were applied to tissue sections, followed by incubation overnight at
4uC. The slides were treated with 0.2% glutaraldehyde. Then
biotinylated secondary Abs and streptavidinhorseradish
peroxidase were used for detection (Nichirei Bioscience, Tokyo, Japan)
for 30 min. Signals were developed with a DAB Peroxidase
Substrate Kit, 3,39-diaminobenzidine (Vector Laboratories,
Burlingame, USA). Positive staining was indicated by brownish black
deposits, and counterstaining was performed with hematoxylin.
The images were captured with a DMBA210 microscope, and the
captured images were analyzed with Image J software (NIH,
USA), the ratios of the positive area to the whole cross-sectional
aortic wall area being calculated. Each data was average of three
sections. A blind observer analyzed the lesions.
Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain
Several gene expressions such as MCP-1, MIF, TNF-a, MMP-9
and RelA (p65), were analyzed by real-time quantitative RT-PCR
using the TaqMan system based on real-time detection of
accumulated fluorescence. Total RNA was extracted from whole
thoracic aortae by homogenization in an RNeasy Fibrous Tissue
Mini Kit (Qiagen Japan, Tokyo, Japan). cDNA was synthesized by
reverse transcription with a Clontech Advantage RT-for-PCR Kit
(Takara Bio Inc., Otsu, Japan). Quantitative real-time
reversetranscription polymerase chain reaction was performed using an
Applied Biosystems 7300 Real-Time PCR System (Applied
Biosystems, California, USA), followed by analysis involving
software detection system (SDS version 1.9) software. Gene
expression was normalized as to 18S rRNA (Applied Biosystems).
After overnight fasting, blood was collected from the cardiac
cavity of mice aged 16 wk and analyzed for the lipid profile. The
plasma chylomicron (CM), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL),
low density lipoprotein (LDL), and high density lipoprotein (HDL)
levels were determined by use of a high-sensitivity
lipoproteinprofiling system by high-performance liquid chromatography
(HPLC) (Skylight Biotech, Inc., Akita, Japan) . HPLC with
gel permeation columns was performed to classify and quantify
lipoproteins on the basis of differences in particle size .
The results were expressed as means 6 SE and analyzed by
means of Students t test (GraphPad Prism 5.03; Graph Pad
Software Inc., CA, USA). Values of p,0.05 were considered
From the 8th week to 16th week, mice were randomized to
receive a Western-type diet and PBS or 15d-PGJ2. Figure 1 shows
the change of body weight for observation period. At 16th week,
body weight of 15d-PGJ2 treated mice tended to be higher than
controls, but it was not significantly different (21.664.2 g and
21.263.9 g, respectively, p = 0.6). Body weight did not decrease
after intraperitoneal administration of PBS or 15d-PGJ2.
Figure 3. Representative sections with immunohistochemical analysis. Apo E-knockout mice were fed a Western-type diet and treated with
PBS (control group) (n = 10) or 1 mg/kg/day 15d-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2 group) (n = 10) for 2 mo. Representative cross-sections of the aortic sinus were
stained with MOMA-2 (A), which detected macrophages, and MCP-1 Abs (B), MIF Abs (C), TNF-a Abs (D), MMP-9 Abs (E), PPARc Abs (F), and
counterstained with hematoxylin. Right sections are control group and left ones are 15d-PGJ2 group in each figure. Black arrows indicate the positive
Figure 5. Comparison of gene expressions in the thoracic aorta between the control and 15d-PGJ2 treated groups by real-time PCR
analysis. Apo E-knockout mice were fed a Western-type diet and treated with PBS (control group) or 1 mg/kg/day 15d-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2 group) for
2 mo. Thoracic aortae were removed and total RNA was extracted from them. cDNA was synthesized by reverse transcription, and quantitative
realtime PCR was performed. The relative gene expression values were calculated. The relative expressions were significantly decreased in the 15d-PGJ2
group, MCP-1 (1.26360.3193 vs 2.80260.5627, p = 0.0339) (A), MIF (2.98560.3860 vs 4.74560.7347, p = 0.0430) (B), TNF-a (1.05960.4625 vs
4.22061.236, p = 0.0241) (C), MMP-9 (1.30460.2344 vs 3.64460.6947, p = 0.0014) (D) and RelA (1.55160.2995 vs 3.29460.7093, p = 0.0310) (E),
compared with in the control group. *p,0.05, **p,0.01, with Students t test.
Atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic sinus
To determine the factors mediating the anti-atherosclerotic
effect of 15d-PGJ2, we compared the area of oil red O-positive
lesions and fibrotic lesions in cross-sections of the aortic wall
between the control and 15d-PGJ2 groups (n = 15, respectively).
Representative micrographs are presented in Figure 2. Typical
atheromas with well-developed, lipid-rich cores and foam cell
infiltration were observed. The prevalence of oil red O positive
areas in cross-sections of whole atherosclerotic lesions were
31.4461.811% in the controls and 26.6361.169% in the
15dPGJ2 groups. The prevalence of Massons trichrome stained
fibrotic areas were 58.0563.218% and 32.4862.535%,
Immunohistochemistry of the atherosclerotic lesions
We explored the mechanism underlying the anti-atherosclerotic
effect of 15d-PGJ2. Immunohistochemistry was performed with
MOMA-2, which detected macrophages, anti-MCP-1 Abs,
antiMIF Abs, anti- TNF-a Abs, and anti-MMP-9 Abs. We compared the
prevalence of positive areas in the aortic root between the control and
15d-PGJ2 groups (n = 10, respectively). The 15d-PGJ2 group
exhibited significant lower expression of MCP-1 (9.50860.8518%
vs 12.6560.9788%, p = 0.0339), MIF (10.2861.402% vs 17.536
1.762%, p = 0.0047), TNF-a (9.85360.9462% vs 17.1261.412%,
p = 0.0005), MMP-9 (11.0260.8208% vs 20.8062.846%, p =
0.0040) and macrophages (17.6462.194% vs 26.9762.437%,
p = 0.0107), compared with in control group (Figure 3A3E,
Figure 4A4E). But the prevalence of PPARc was not different
between both groups (10.5560.9217% vs 10.4661.104%, p =
0.9463) (Figure 3F, Figure 4F).
Gene expressions in the thoracic aorta
Figure 5 shows the results of quantitative real-time PCR analysis of
MCP-1, MIF, TNFa, MMP-9 and RelA gene expressions in thoracic
aortae. All of those gene expressions were significantly decreased in
the 15d-PGJ2 group (n = 10, respectively), MCP-1 (1.26360.3193 vs
2.80260.5627, p = 0.0339), MIF (2.98560.3860 vs 4.74560.7347,
p = 0.0430), TNF-a (1.05960.4625 vs 4.22061.236, p = 0.0241),
MMP-9 (1.30460.2344 vs 3.64460.6947, p = 0.0014) and RelA
(1.55160.2995 vs 3.29460.7093, p = 0.0310), compared with in the
control group. 15d-PGJ2 also reduced the expressions of these
atherosclerotic markers at the gene level. It indicated that 15d-PGJ2
led to downregulation of these gene expressions via NF-kB, and these
results were almost comparable with immunohistochemistry. In
addition, ligand-induced negative-feedback was not identified in our
15d-PGJ2 treatment improves the lipid profile
We performed analyses of lipid levels at the end of this study.
Pooled plasma from all mice was subjected to HPLC. Lipoproteins
were separated in CM, VLDL, LDL, and HDL. The total serum
cholesterol level was significantly lower in the15d-PGJ2 group than
in the control group (795.5639.31 mg/dl vs 944.1649.04 mg/dl,
p = 0.029) (Figure 6A). Especially LDL was significantly reduced in
the 15d-PGJ2 group (186.9613.49 mg/dl vs 234.3616.60 mg/dl,
p = 0.0397) (Figure 6D). CM and VLDL tended to be lower than in
controls, but the difference was not significant (36.9664.999 mg/dl
vs 68.13623.98 mg/dl, p = 0.1415; 553.5626.67 mg/dl vs
622.7628.02 mg/dl, p = 0.1005, respectively) (Figure 6B and C).
The HDL level was not different between the control and 15d-PGJ2
groups (18.1461.264 mg/dl vs 19.0162.562 mg/dl, p = 0.7413)
15d-PGJ2 is a ligand of PPARc, which acts to atherosclerosis
formation. In this study, we fed apo E-deficient mice a
Westerntype diet and administered 15d-PGJ2. We measured the
crosssectional atherosclerotic area in the proximal aorta and examined
the expression of several atherosclerotic markers in the lesions.
The atherosclerotic area, represented by lipid accumulation and
fibrous tissue, significantly decreased in apo E-null mice treated
with 15d-PGJ2. Immunohistochemical and real-time PCR
analyses showed that the expressions of MCP-1, MIF, TNF-a and
MMP-9 in atherosclerotic lesions were significantly decreased.
The 15d-PGJ2 also reduced the expression of RelA mRNA in
atherosclerotic lesions. This study suggests that 15d-PGJ2 has an
Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. The lesions in
atherosclerosis represent a series of highly specific cellular and
molecular responses that can best be described, overall, as an
inflammatory disease . Atherosclerosis formation consists of
several steps. The earliest changes that precede the formation of
lesions of atherosclerosis take place in the endothelium. These
changes include migration of leukocytes into the artery wall, which is
mediated by MCP-1 . Fatty streaks initially consist of lipid-laden
monocytes and macrophages together with T lymphocytes. Later
they are joined by various numbers of smooth-muscle cells. The
steps involved in this process include T cell activation, foam-cell
formation, which is mediated by TNF-a. As the advanced change,
thinning of the fibrous cap is apparently due to the continuing influx
and activation of macrophages, which release metalloproteinases
such as MMP-9, and other proteolytic enzymes at these sites. MIF
affects cell proliferation in lesions and elastolytic/collagenolytic
cysteine protease expression. MIF may act as do other cytokines (eg,
TNF-a) to enhance protease expression and vascular cell
proliferation, processes that occur during atherogenesis . Our data
showed that 15d-PGJ2 inhibited MCP-1, MIF, TNF-a and MMP-9
as indicated by real-time PCR as well as immunohistochemical
analysis. A previous study showed that thiazolidinediones and
15dPGJ2 inhibit macrophage proliferation in a dose-dependent manner,
and significantly reduce the migration of monocytes induced by
MCP-1 in vitro . Also, MCP-1 is one of the important mediators
at early change of atherosclerosis formation. On possibility is that
15d-PGJ2 act on various steps of atherosclerosis formation. Another
possibility is that 15d-PGJ2 act on the early step of atherosclerosis
formation, as a consequence, 15d-PGJ2 decrease the mediators at
15d-PGJ2 is one of the PPARc-ligands  emerging as a key
anti-inflammatory mediator via NF-kB inhibition, may play a role
in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis . NF-kB family consists of
RelA (p65), c-Rel, and RelB, as well as p105 and p100 and their
processed forms, p50 and p52, respectively. NF-kB primarily exists
as a p50/p65 heterodimer . In our data, PPARc expressed in
atherosclerotic lesions in both controls and 15d-PGJ2 groups. In
addition, the expression of RelA was decreased in 15d-PGJ2
groups. It is generally known that high dose of ligands lead to
downregulation of its receptor expressions. Although it has not
been reported about PPARc agonist, a previous study revealed
that treatment with GW1929, a selective PPARc antagonist,
enhanced PPARc mRNA expressions in kidneys from
hypertension model rats . This study shows the possibility that high
dose PPARc also downregulate its receptor expression. But
PPARc expression was not changed in our results. It indicated
that 15d-PGJ2 did not induce the negative-feedback in our study.
On the other hand, the reduction of RelA was owing to NF-kB
inhibition. 15d-PGJ2 induces some PPARc-independent biological
actions, such as inhibition of NF-kB signaling through covalent
modifications of critical cysteine residues in IkB kinase and the
DNA-binding domains of NF-kB subunits . We presumed that
15d-PGJ2 inhibited NF-kB not only as a PPARc agonist but also
as PPARc-independent actions.
High plasma concentrations of cholesterol, in particular those of
LDL cholesterol, are one of the principal risk factors for
atherosclerosis . In this study, 15d-PGJ2 decreased serum
total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol level. This shows that
15d-PGJ2 reduces the principal risk factor of atherosclerosis. But
the detail mechanisms remain an open question. Further studies
are needed to elucidate this matter.
In conclusion, this is the first study demonstrating an
antiatherosclerotic effect of 15d-PGJ2 in vivo, using a rodent model.
The mechanism of its effect remains to be elucidated in detail.
However, our data indicate that 15d-PGJ2 exhibits ability as to an
anti-atherosclerotic effect. These findings suggest that 15d-PGJ2 is
a beneficial therapeutic reagent for both atherosclerosis.
Conceived and designed the experiments: TS MH MK YK. Performed the
experiments: TS MH AY MK KN. Analyzed the data: TS MH.
Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: TS MH EA HI AY MK
KM. Wrote the paper: TS MK SM YK. Assisted editing paper: EA MK
SM TM YK.
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