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Lipoprotein Lipase Is Synthesized By Macrophage-derived Foam Cells In Human Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques.

K. O'brien, D. Gordon, S. Deeb, M. Ferguson, A. Chait
Published 1992 · Biology, Medicine

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Lipoprotein lipase (LPL), hydrolyzes the core triglycerides of lipoproteins, thereby playing a role in their maturation. LPL may be important in the metabolic pathways that lead to atherosclerosis, since it is secreted in vitro by both of the predominant cell types of the atherosclerotic plaque, i.e., macrophages and smooth muscle cells. Because of uncertainty concerning the primary cellular source of LPL in atherosclerotic lesions, in situ hybridization assays for LPL mRNA were performed on 12 coronary arteries obtained from six cardiac allograft recipients. Macrophages and smooth muscle cells were identified on adjacent sections with cell-specific antibodies and foam cells were identified morphologically. LPL protein was localized using a polyclonal antibody. LPL mRNA was produced by a proportion of plaque macrophages, particularly macrophage-derived foam cells, but was not detected in association with any intimal or medial smooth muscle cells. These findings were confirmed by combined immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization on the same tissue sections. LPL protein was detected in association with macrophage-derived foam cells, endothelial cells, adventitial adipocytes, and medial smooth muscle cells, and, to a lesser extent, in intimal smooth muscle cells and media underlying well-developed plaque. These results indicate that macrophage-derived foam cells are the primary source of LPL in atherosclerotic plaques and are consistent with a role for LPL in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
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