Expanded Granulocyte/Monocyte Compartment in Myeloid-Specific Triple FoxO Knockout Increases Oxidative Stress and Accelerates Atherosclerosis in Mice

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Abstract

Rationale:

Increased neutrophil and monocyte counts are often associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, but their relationship to insulin sensitivity is unknown.

Objective:

To investigate the contribution of forkhead transcription factors (FoxO) in myeloid cells to neutrophil and monocyte counts, atherosclerosis, and systemic insulin sensitivity.

Methods and Results:

Genetic ablation of the 3 genes encoding FoxO isoforms 1, 3a, and 4, in myeloid cells resulted in an expansion of the granulocyte/monocyte progenitor compartment and was associated with increased atherosclerotic lesion formation in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice. In vivo and ex vivo studies indicate that FoxO ablation in myeloid cells increased generation of reactive oxygen species. Accordingly, treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine reversed the phenotype, normalizing atherosclerosis.

Conclusions:

Our data indicate that myeloid cell proliferation and oxidative stress can be modulated via the FoxO branch of insulin receptor signaling, highlighting a heretofore-unknown link between insulin sensitivity and leukocytosis that can affect the predisposition to atherosclerosis.

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