ERV1/ChemR23 Signaling Protects Against Atherosclerosis by Modifying Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein Uptake and Phagocytosis in Macrophages

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In addition to enhanced proinflammatory signaling, impaired resolution of vascular inflammation plays a key role in atherosclerosis. Proresolving lipid mediators formed through the 12/15 lipoxygenase pathways exert protective effects against murine atherosclerosis. n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), serve as the substrate for the formation of lipid mediators, which transduce potent anti-inflammatory and proresolving actions through their cognate G-protein–coupled receptors. The aim of this study was to identify signaling pathways associated with EPA supplementation and lipid mediator formation that mediate atherosclerotic disease progression.


Lipidomic plasma analysis were performed after EPA supplementation in Apoe−/− mice. Erv1/Chemr23−/−xApoe−/− mice were generated for the evaluation of atherosclerosis, phagocytosis, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake. Histological and mRNA analyses were done on human atherosclerotic lesions.


Here, we show that EPA supplementation significantly attenuated atherosclerotic lesion growth induced by Western diet in Apoe−/− mice and was associated with local cardiovascular n-3 enrichment and altered lipoprotein metabolism. Our systematic plasma lipidomic analysis identified the resolvin E1 precursor 18-monohydroxy EPA as a central molecule formed during EPA supplementation. Targeted deletion of the resolvin E1 receptor Erv1/Chemr23 in 2 independent hyperlipidemic murine models was associated with proatherogenic signaling in macrophages, increased oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake, reduced phagocytosis, and increased atherosclerotic plaque size and necrotic core formation. We also demonstrate that in macrophages the resolvin E1–mediated effects in oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake and phagocytosis were dependent on Erv1/Chemr23. When analyzing human atherosclerotic specimens, we identified ERV1/ChemR23 expression in a population of macrophages located in the proximity of the necrotic core and demonstrated augmented ERV1/ChemR23 mRNA levels in plaques derived from statin users.


This study identifies 18-monohydroxy EPA as a major plasma marker after EPA supplementation and demonstrates that the ERV1/ChemR23 receptor for its downstream mediator resolvin E1 transduces protective effects in atherosclerosis. ERV1/ChemR23 signaling may represent a previously unrecognized therapeutic pathway to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

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