Low levels of extrahepatic nonmacrophage ApoE inhibit atherosclerosis without correcting hypercholesterolemia in ApoE-deficient mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • The prevention of atherosclerosis by apolipoprotein E (apoE) is generally attributed to the removal of plasma lipoprotein remnant particles. We developed transgenic apoE-knockout mice expressing apoE specifically in the adrenal gland and found that only 3% of the wild-type plasma level of apoE was sufficient to normalize plasma cholesterol levels in the apoE-deficient mouse. As expected, mice expressing apoE at levels that correct hypercholesterolemia had almost no cholesteryl ester deposition in their aortas. In contrast, their nontransgenic siblings had significant atherosclerosis. Unexpectedly, we found that atherosclerosis was also reduced in 2 transgenic lines expressing too little apoE (<1% to 2% of wild type) to correct their hypercholesterolemia. Gel exclusion chromatographic profiles of plasma lipoproteins and the size distributions of lipoproteins with density <1.063 (low density and very low density lipoproteins), as determined by dynamic laser light scattering, were the same in mice expressing <2 microg/mL plasma apoE and their nontransgenic littermates. We conclude that the antiatherogenic action of low levels of plasma apoE is not due to the clearance of remnant lipoproteins. Thus, low levels of apoE provided systemically, but not made in the liver or in macrophages, can block atherogenesis in the vascular wall independently of normalizing the plasma concentration of atherogenic remnant lipoprotein particles.

published proceedings

  • Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Thorngate, F. E., Rudel, L. L., Walzem, R. L., & Williams, D. L.

citation count

  • 106

complete list of authors

  • Thorngate, FE||Rudel, LL||Walzem, RL||Williams, DL

publication date

  • August 2000