Apolipoprotein A-I and the molecular variant apoA-I(Milano): evaluation of the antiatherogenic effects in knock-in mouse model.

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Dec;183(2):222-9. Epub 2005 Apr 21.  

Parolini C, Chiesa G, Gong E, Caligari S, Cortese MM, Koga T, Forte TM, Rubin EM.
Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy. cinzia.parolini@unimi.it 

No evidence of premature vascular disease is found in apolipoprotein A-I(Milano) (apoA-I(M)) human carriers, despite very low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Whether apoA-I(M) may impart a „gain of function“ in atherosclerosis protection compared to wild-type apoA-I is hotly debated. To address this question, knock-in mice expressing human apoA-I or apoA-I(M) were crossed with atherosclerosis-susceptible mice expressing the human apoB/A-II transgene (h-B/A-II/A-I(Hu/Hu) and h-B/A-II/A-I(M)(Hu/Hu)). On a chow diet, h-B/A-II/A-I(M)(Hu/Hu) mice were characterized by low HDL cholesterol levels compared to h-B/A-II/A-I(Hu/Hu) mice (35.65+/-8.00 mg/dl versus 58.09+/-13.50mg/dl, respectively; p<0.005). Gender differences in response to high fat diet were observed in both h-B/A-II/A-I(M)(Hu/Hu) and h-B/A-II/A-I(Hu/Hu) lines. h-B/A-II/A-I(M)(Hu/Hu) females had higher total cholesterol levels compared to h-B/A-II/A-I(Hu/Hu) females (895.08+/-183.07 mg/dl versus 544.43+/-116.42 mg/dl; p<0.05) and developed larger atherosclerotic lesions (148,260+/-78,924 microm(2) versus 54,132+/-43,204 microm(2), respectively; p<0.05). On the contrary, no difference in mean lesion area was found between h-B/A-II/A-I(M)(Hu/Hu) and h-B/A-II/A-I(Hu/Hu) males (19,779+/-6,098 microm(2) versus 15,706+/-13,095 microm(2); p=0.685). Our data suggest that, in the atherosclerosis-susceptible human apoB/A-II mouse model, expression of the human apoA-I(M) gene does not have protective advantage over that of the apoA-I gene.