During inflammation, P-selectin expressed on activated endothelial cells and platelets mediates rolling adhesion of leukocytes. Atherosclerosis-prone mice crossed with P-selectin–deficient (Selp−/−) mice develop smaller lesions. Cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α, increase Selp transcripts and augment atherosclerosis in mice. However, they decrease SELP transcripts in humans, challenging assumptions that human P-selectin is atherogenic. We used mice expressing a human SELP transgene to examine the atherogenic role of P-selectin.Approach and Results—
We crossed apolipoprotein E–deficient (Apoe−/−) mice with Selp−/− mice or transgenic mice expressing the entire human SELP gene (TgSELP+/−). Aortas developed larger, macrophage-rich atheromas in Apoe−/−Selp−/−TgSELP+/− mice than in Apoe−/−Selp−/− mice after 8 or 16 weeks on a Western diet. Confocal microscopy of Apoe−/−Selp−/−TgSELP+/− aortas revealed staining for human P-selectin in endothelial cells overlying atheromas but not in lesional macrophages. We also observed staining for human P-selectin in aortic endothelial cells of 3- to 4-week-old Apoe−/−Selp−/−TgSELP+/− weanlings before atheromas developed. Furthermore, human SELP transcripts were ≈3-fold higher in aortas of Apoe−/−Selp+/−TgSELP+/− weanlings than in Selp+/−TgSELP+/− weanlings, whereas murine Selp and Sele transcripts were equivalent in weanlings of both genotypes. Human SELP transcripts in aortas of Apoe−/−Selp+/−TgSELP+/− mice remained nearly constant during 16 weeks on a Western diet, whereas murine Selp and Sele transcripts progressively increased. Bone marrow transplantation in Apoe−/−Selp−/− and Apoe−/−Selp−/−TgSELP+/− mice demonstrated that both platelets and endothelial cells must express human P-selectin to promote atherogenesis.Conclusions—
P-selectin expressed by human SELP is atherogenic in Apoe−/− mice, suggesting that P-selectin contributes to atherogenesis in humans.