Inhibition of Glycosphingolipid Synthesis Ameliorates Atherosclerosis and Arterial Stiffness in Apo E-/- Mice and Rabbits Fed a High Fat and Cholesterol Diet
Background—Glycosphingolipids are integral components of the cell membrane and have been shown to serve as messengers, transducing growth factor initiated phenotypes. Here we have examined whether inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis could ameliorate atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness in transgenic mice and rabbits.
Methods and Results—Apolipoprotein E-/- mice (12 weeks of age, n = 6) were fed regular chow or a western diet (1.25% cholesterol, 2% fat). Mice were fed 5mg/kg (mpk) or 10mpk of an inhibitor of glycosphingolipid synthesis, D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (D-PDMP), solubilized in vehicle (5% Tween-80 in PBS) and the placebo group received vehicle only. At 20 and 36 weeks of age, serial echocardiography was performed to measure aortic intima medial thickening (IMT). Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) measured vascular stiffness. Feeding mice a western diet markedly increased aortic PWV, IMT, oxidized LDL, Ca2+ deposits, and glucosyl- and lactosylceramide synthase activity. These were dose-dependently decreased by feeding D-PDMP. In liver, D-PDMP decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels by raising the expression of SREBP2, LDL-r, HMGCo-A reductase, and cholesterol efflux genes (e.g., ABCG5, ABCG8). D-PDMP affected VLDL catabolism by increasing the gene expression for LPL and VLDLr. Rabbits fed a western diet for 90 days had extensive atherosclerosis accompanied by a 17.5-fold increase in total cholesterol levels and a 3-fold increase in lactosylceramide levels. This was completely prevented by feeding D-PDMP.
Conclusions—Inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis ameliorates atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness in ApoE-/- mice and rabbits. Thus, inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis may be a novel approach to ameliorate atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness.
- Received November 18, 2013.
- Revision received March 1, 2014.
- Accepted March 10, 2014.