Manipulation of inflammation modulates hyperlipidemia in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice: A possible role for interleukin-6

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There are increasing evidences showing that inflammation participates in atherosclerosis. Therefore, the therapeutic use of anti-inflammatory agents should be considered. We have induced chronic, aseptic inflammation upon the injection of turpentine and tested the effect of dexamethasone on lipoprotein metabolism and, consequently, atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Aseptic inflammation caused a significant decrease in hyperlipidemia. Treatment with dexamethasone elicited the opposite effect increasing hyperlipidemia through mechanisms related to the increase in the synthesis of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Changes in plasma lipids correlated with those observed in the size of atherosclerotic lesions. Our data suggest the presence of a common mechanism present in both observations and which is probably related to the cytokine secretion. Among the candidates, we chose to test the effect of interleukin-6 because it is involved in both processes, atherosclerosis and inflammation, and its expression is efficiently repressed by corticosteroids. The injection of recombinant interleukin-6 in our mice elicited the same effects observed in our model of inflammation. We conclude that manipulation of inflammation-related mechanisms modulates lipid homeostasis and development of atherosclerotic plaque in rodents.

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