A₁ adenosine receptor deficiency or inhibition reduces atherosclerotic lesions in apolipoprotein E deficient mice

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Aims The goal of this study was to determine whether the A1 adenosine receptor (AR) plays a role in atherosclerosis development and to explore its potential mechanisms. Methods and results Double knockout (DKO) mice, deficient in the genes encoding A1 AR and apolipoprotein E (apoE), demonstrated reduced atherosclerotic lesions in aortic arch (en face), aortic root, and innominate arteries when compared with apoE-deficient mice (APOE-KO) of the same age. Treating APOE-KO with an A1 AR antagonist (DPCPX) also led to a concentration-dependent reduction in lesions. The total plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels were not different between DKO and APOE-KO; however, higher triglyceride was observed in DKO fed a high-fat diet. DKO also had higher body weights than APOE-KO. Plasma cytokine concentrations (IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13) were significantly lower in DKO. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression was also significantly reduced in the aorta from DKO. Despite smaller lesions in DKO, the composition of the innominate artery lesion and cholesterol loading and efflux from bone marrow-derived macrophages of DKO were not different from APOE-KO. Conclusion The A1 AR may play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, possibly due to its pro-inflammatory and mitogenic properties.