Progression of atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice that express distinct molecular forms of TNF-alpha

M Canault,¹,² F Peiretti,¹,² M Poggi,¹,² C Mueller,³ F Kopp,² B Bonardo,¹,² D Bastelica,¹,² A Nicolay,²,4 M-C Alessi,¹,² and G Nalbone¹,²
¹Inserm, U626, Marseille ; ²Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille ; ³University of Bern, Institute of Pathology, Switzerland ; 4Service Chimie Analytique, Faculté de Pharmacie, Marseille
J Pathol (2008)


TNFα (TNF) critically regulates inflammation-driven atherosclerosis. Because the transmembrane (tmTNF) and soluble (sTNF) forms of TNF possess distinct immuno-modulatory properties, we hypothesized that they might differentially regulate atherosclerosis progression.

Three groups of male ApoE−/− mice were studied : one expressing wild-type TNF (WT-TNF) ; one expressing exclusively a mutated non-cleavable form of TNF (KI-TNF) ; and one deficient in TNF (KO-TNF). Mice aged 5 weeks were fed the high-fat diet for 5 (T5) and 15 weeks (T15) or a standard chow diet for 15 weeks. At T5, in mice fed the high-fat diet, no significant differences in lesion area were observed among the three groups, either in valves or in aortas. At T15, lesion areas in valves were significantly lower in KO-TNF mice compared with those in WT-TNF mice, whereas in KI-TNF mice, they were intermediate between KO- and WT-TNF mice but not significantly different from these two groups. In aortas, lesions in KI-TNF were comparable to those of KO-TNF, both being significantly lower than those in WT-TNF. Theses differences were not linked to circulating lipids, or to macrophage, actin, and collagen contents of lesions. At T15, in mice fed the chow diet, lesion areas in valves and the aortic arch were not significantly different between the three groups. Levels of IL-6, IFNγ , IL-10, and Foxp3 mRNAs in spleens and production of IL-6, IL-10, MCP-1, RANTES, and TNFR-2 by peritoneal macrophages at T15 of the high-fat diet showed a decrease in pro-inflammatory status, more marked in KO-TNF than in KI-TNF mice. Apoptosis was reduced only in KO-TNF mice.

In conclusion, these data show that TNF effects on atherosclerosis development are detectable at stages succeeding fatty streaks and that wild-type TNF is superior to tmTNF alone in promoting atherosclerosis. TNFdependent progression of atherosclerosis is probably linked to the differential production of pro-inflammatory mediators whether tmTNF is preponderant or essentially cleaved.

Keywords : atherosclerosis ; TNF ; transmembrane TNF ; gene targeting ; mouse ; inflammation

Autre publication :

MRI follow-up of TNF-dependent differential progression of atherosclerotic wall-thickening in mouse aortic arch from early to advanced stages. Frank Kober, Matthias Canault, Franck Peiretti, Christoph Mueller, Francis Kopp, Marie-Christine Alessi, Patrick J. Cozzone, Gilles Nalbone, Monique Bernard. Atherosclerosis. 2007 Dec ;195(2):e93-9.