Abstract 20707: Macrophage Mitochondrial Fission is Essential for Continued Clearance of Apoptotic Cells and Plays a Protective Role in Advanced Atherosclerosis
Introduction: The mitochondrial dynamic processes of fission and fusion influence and integrate with multiple physiologic and pathophysiologic processes. Mitochondrial dynamics dysregulation has been implicated in atherosclerosis, but little is known about the role of myeloid cell specific mitochondrial dynamics in the progression of atherosclerosis. In macrophage-enriched murine atherosclerosis lesion areas, we have found that levels of mitochondrial fission protein DRP1 down-regulated as the lesion progresses. In contrast, the mitochondrial fusion protein MFN2 is up-regulated. Further, mitochondria in lesional macrophages show hyperfusion morphology as the lesion develops. These suggest that mitochondria in macrophages undergo hyperfusion during the lesion progression.
Hypothesis: We hypothesize that mitochondrial hyperfusion plays a significant role in atherosclerosis.
Methods: We used a model Drp1fl/fl LysmCre+/-Ldlr-/-mice who have hyperfused mitochondria in Mϕs to test the functional significance of mitochondrial hyperfusion in atherosclerosis.
Results: We have found that inhibition of Mϕ mitochondrial fission leads to a striking increase of necrotic core area and the accumulation of apoptotic cells, which are likely due to the defective phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) in the advanced stage of atherosclerosis in vivo. This is further verified by another in vivo efferocytosis assay: Drp1fl/fl LysmCre+/-mice are defective of clearing apoptotic thymocytes in vivo. Mechanistically, the continued uptake of apoptotic cellsis impaired in Mϕs with hyperfused mitochondria. This is because of the lower level of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), the mitochondrial inner membrane protein that prevents the sustained elevation of inner membrane potential (Δψ). Chemical uncoupler FCCP or restoration of UCP2 can correct the efferocytosis deficiency in DRP1 knockout Mϕs.
Conclusions: Macrophage mitochondrial fission is essential for continued clearance of apoptotic cells and plays a protective role in advanced atherosclerosis. This study indicates that mitochondrial fusion/fission could be a novel therapeutic target to prevent lesion necrosis and stabilize the advanced plaques in humans.
Author Disclosures: Y. Wang: None. I. Tabas: None. M. Nomura: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.