Reduced atherosclerosis and inflammatory cytokines in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice lacking bone marrow-derived interleukin-1α

Yehuda Kamari, Aviv Shaish, Shay Shemesh, Einav Vax, Itamar Grosskopf, Shahar Dotan, Malka White, Elena Voronov, Charles A. Dinarello, Ron N. Apte, Dror Harats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Objective: Interleukin (IL)-1α and IL-1β are products of macrophages, endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells; moreover, each of these cell types is affected by the pro-inflammatory properties of both IL-1's. Whereas several studies demonstrate the proatherogenic properties of IL-1β, the role of IL-1α in atherogenesis remains unclear. We assessed whether IL-1α and IL-1β from tissue resident vascular cells or emigrating bone marrow-derived cells promote the development of atherosclerosis in apoE-/- mice and determined the effect of selective macrophage IL-1α or IL-1β deficiency on degradation of LDL and cytokine production. Methods: We generated strains of double knock-out (KO) mice (apoE-/-/IL-1α-/- and apoE-/-/IL-1β-/-) and created chimeras consisting of apoE-/- mice reconstituted with bone marrow-derived cells from apoE-/-/IL-1+/+, apoE-/-/IL-1α-/- and apoE-/-/IL-1β-/- Results: The areas of aortic sinus lesions were lower in either double KO mice compared to solely apoE-/- mice, despite higher non-HDL cholesterol levels. Importantly, selective deficiency of IL-1α or IL-1β in bone marrow-derived cells inhibited atherogenesis to the same extent as in double KO mice without affecting plasma lipids. Aortic sinus lesions in apoE-/- mice transplanted with IL-1β-/- or IL-1α-/- cells were 32% and 52% lower, respectively, than in IL-1+/+ transplanted mice. Ex vivo, isolated IL-1α-/- macrophages from atherosclerotic mice degraded LDL and secreted IL-6, TNFα and IL-12 similarly to IL-1+/+ macrophages; however, IL-1α deficient macrophages secreted reduced levels of IL-1β (-50%) and 2-3-fold higher levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Conclusion: We show for the first time that it is IL-1α from bone marrow-derived cells that accelerates atherogenesis in apoE-deficient mice rather than constitutive IL-1α in vascular cells, possibly by increasing the inflammatory cytokine profile of macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2011


  • ApoE-deficient mice
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cytokines
  • IL-1
  • Macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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