Adhesion of monocytes to arterial endothelium and initiation of atherosclerosis are critically dependent on vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 gene dosage
Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
- Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1/Vcam1) is a cytokine-inducible member of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily that is expressed by arterial endothelial cells in regions predisposed to atherosclerosis and at borders of atherosclerotic plaques. To determine whether VCAM-1 expression regulates atherosclerotic lesion formation, we crossed Vcam1 domain 4-deficient (D4D) mice, which partially circumvent the embryonic lethality of Vcam1 null mice, with apolipoprotein E null (Apoe(-/-)) mice, which spontaneously develop hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. In the Apoe(-/-) background, mice homozygous for the Vcam1 D4D allele had markedly reduced arterial VCAM-1 expression, monocyte adherence in the aortic root, and fatty streak formation. Heterozygous Vcam1 D4D mice revealed a Vcam1 gene-dosage effect and had intermediate, yet significant, reductions in these parameters. Our data demonstrate that VCAM-1 plays a pivotal role in the initiation of atherosclerosis in Apoe(-/-) mice.