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Diesel exhaust particulate increases the size and complexity of lesions in atherosclerotic mice

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    Rights statement: © 2013 Miller et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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http://www.particleandfibretoxicology.com/content/10/1/61
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Number of pages12
JournalParticle and Fibre Toxicology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2013

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Diesel exhaust particulate (DEP), a major component of urban air pollution, has been linked to atherogenesis and precipitation of myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that DEP exposure would increase and destabilise atherosclerotic lesions in apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE-/-) mice. METHODS: ApoE-/- mice were fed a 'Western diet' (8 weeks) to induce 'complex' atherosclerotic plaques, with parallel experiments in normal chow fed wild-type mice. During the last 4 weeks of feeding, mice received twice weekly instillation (oropharyngeal aspiration) of 35 μL DEP (1 mg/mL, SRM-2975) or vehicle (saline). Atherosclerotic burden was assessed by en-face staining of the thoracic aorta and histological examination of the brachiocephalic artery.

RESULTS: Brachiocephalic atherosclerotic plaques were larger in ApoE-/- mice treated with DEP (59 ± 10%) than in controls (32 ± 7%; P = 0.017). In addition, DEP-treated mice had more plaques per section of artery (2.4 ± 0.2 vs 1.8 ± 0.2; P = 0.048) and buried fibrous layers (1.2 ± 0.2 vs 0.4 ± 0.1; P = 0.028). These changes were associated with lung inflammation and increased antioxidant gene expression in the liver, but not with changes in endothelial function, plasma lipids or systemic inflammation.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased atherosclerosis is caused by the particulate component of diesel exhaust producing advanced plaques with a potentially more vulnerable phenotype. These results are consistent with the suggestion that removal of the particulate component would reduce the adverse cardiovascular effects of diesel exhaust.

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