Prolactin receptor antagonism uncouples lipids from atherosclerosis susceptibility
University Hospital Antwerp
The journal of endocrinology. - Colchester
, p. 341-350
University of Antwerp
The pituitary-derived hormone prolactin has been suggested to stimulate the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease through its effects on metabolism and inflammation. In this study, we aimed to challenge the hypothesis that inhibition of prolactin function may beneficially affect atherosclerosis burden. Hereto, atherosclerosis-susceptible LDL receptor (Ldlr) knockout mice were transplanted with bone marrow from transgenic mice expressing the pure prolactin receptor antagonist Del1-9-G129R-hPRL or their non-transgenic littermates as control. Recipient mice expressing Del1-9-G129R-hPRL exhibited a decrease in plasma cholesterol levels (-29%; P<0.05) upon feeding a Western-type diet (WTD), which could be attributed to a marked decrease (-47%; P<0.01) in the amount of cholesterol esters associated with pro-atherogenic lipoproteins VLDL/LDL. By contrast, Del1-9-G129R-hPRL-expressing mice did not display any change in the susceptibility for atherosclerosis after 12 weeks of WTD feeding. Both the absolute atherosclerotic lesion size (223 +/- 33x10(3) mu m(2) for Del1-9-G129R-hPRL vs 259 +/- 32x10(3) mu m(2) for controls) and the lesional macrophage and collagen contents were not different between the two groups of bone marrow recipients. Importantly, Del1-9-G129R-hPRL exposure increased levels of circulating neutrophils (+91%; P<0.05), lymphocytes (+55%; P<0.05), and monocytes (+43%; P<0.05), resulting in a 49% higher (P<0.01) total blood leukocyte count. In conclusion, we have shown that prolactin receptor signaling inhibition uncouples the plasma atherogenic index from atherosclerosis susceptibility in Ldlr knockout mice. Despite an associated decrease in VLDL/LDL cholesterol levels, application of the prolactin receptor antagonist Del1-9-G129R-hPRL does not alter the susceptibility for initial development of atherosclerotic lesions probably due to the parallel increase in circulating leukocyte concentrations.