Macrophage uptake of low-density lipoprotein bound to aggregated C-reactive protein: Possible mechanism of foam-cell formation in atherosclerotic lesions

Tao Fu, Jayme Borensztajn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Foam cells found in atherosclerotic lesions are believed to derive from macrophages that take up aggregated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles bound to the extracellular matrix of arterial walls. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase protein found in atherosclerotic lesions, which when immobilized on a solid phase, can bind and cluster LDL particles in a calcium-dependent manner. In the present study, we examined whether CRP-bound aggregated LDL could be taken up by macrophages in culture. CRP molecules were aggregated in the presence of calcium and immobilized on the surface of polystyrene microtitre wells. Human LDL added to the wells bound to and aggregated on the immobilized CRP, also in a calcium-dependent manner. On incubation with macrophages, the immobilized CRP-bound LDL aggregates were readily taken up by the cells, as demonstrated by immunofluorescence microscopy, by the cellular accumulation of cholesterol and by the overexpression of adipophilin. Immunofluorescence microscopy and flow-cytometry analysis established that the uptake of the LDL CRP complex was not mediated by the CRP receptor CD32. These observations with immobilized CRP and LDL, approximating the conditions that exist in the extracellular matrix of the arterial wall, thus suggest that CRP may contribute to the formation of foam cells in atherosclerotic lesions by causing the aggregation of LDL molecules that are then taken up by macrophages through a CD32-independent pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Volume366
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002

Keywords

  • Adipophilin
  • CD32
  • Calcium
  • Cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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