Research ArticleNANOMEDICINE

Inhibiting macrophage proliferation suppresses atherosclerotic plaque inflammation

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Science Advances  03 Apr 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 3, e1400223
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400223


Inflammation drives atherosclerotic plaque progression and rupture, and is a compelling therapeutic target. Consequently, attenuating inflammation by reducing local macrophage accumulation is an appealing approach. This can potentially be accomplished by either blocking blood monocyte recruitment to the plaque or increasing macrophage apoptosis and emigration. Because macrophage proliferation was recently shown to dominate macrophage accumulation in advanced plaques, locally inhibiting macrophage proliferation may reduce plaque inflammation and produce long-term therapeutic benefits. To test this hypothesis, we used nanoparticle-based delivery of simvastatin to inhibit plaque macrophage proliferation in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice (Apoe−/−) with advanced atherosclerotic plaques. This resulted in the rapid reduction of plaque inflammation and favorable phenotype remodeling. We then combined this short-term nanoparticle intervention with an 8-week oral statin treatment, and this regimen rapidly reduced and continuously suppressed plaque inflammation. Our results demonstrate that pharmacologically inhibiting local macrophage proliferation can effectively treat inflammation in atherosclerosis.

  • nanomedicine
  • atherosclerosis
  • inflammation
  • proliferation
  • macrophage
  • high-density lipoprotein
  • ApoE knockout mice
  • Molecular Imaging
  • radiochemistry

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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