Extramedullary Hematopoiesis Generates Ly-6Chigh Monocytes that Infiltrate Atherosclerotic Lesions
Background—Atherosclerotic lesions are believed to grow via the recruitment of bone marrow-derived monocytes. Among the known murine monocyte subsets, Ly-6Chigh monocytes are inflammatory, accumulate in lesions preferentially, and differentiate. Here we hypothesized that the bone marrow outsources the production of Ly-6Chigh monocytes during atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results—Using murine models of atherosclerosis and fate-mapping approaches, we show that hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) progressively relocate from the bone marrow to the splenic red pulp where they encounter GM-CSF and IL-3, clonally expand, and differentiate to Ly-6Chigh monocytes. Monocytes born in such extramedullary niches intravasate, circulate, and accumulate abundantly in atheromata. Upon lesional infiltration, Ly-6Chigh monocytes secrete inflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species, and proteases. Eventually, they ingest lipids and become foam cells.
Conclusions—Our findings indicate that extramedullary sites supplement the bone marrow's hematopoietic function by producing circulating inflammatory cells that infiltrate atherosclerotic lesions.
- Received August 11, 2011.
- Accepted November 22, 2011.
- Copyright © 2011, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited