Atherosclerosis still remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and deeper understanding of target signaling that protect from the atherosclerosis progression may provide novel therapeutic strategies. CDGSH iron-sulfur domain-containing protein 1 (CISD1) is a protein localized on the outer membrane of mitochondria, and plays key roles in regulating cell death and oxidative stress. However, its potential on atherosclerosis development and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, in our study, we found markedly decreased CISD1 expression in lipid-laden THP1 macrophages. Notably, lentivirus (LV)-mediated CISD1 over-expression remarkably ameliorated lipid deposition in macrophages stimulated by ox-LDL. Furthermore, cellular total ROS and mitochondrial ROS generation, and impairment of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were highly induced by ox-LDL in THP1 cells, while being considerably reversed upon CISD1 over-expression. Inflammatory response caused by ox-LDL was also significantly restrained in macrophages with CISD1 over-expression. Mechanistically, we found that CISD1 could interact with dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). Intriguingly, CISD1-improved mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation in ox-LDL-treated macrophages were strongly abolished by Drp1 over-expression, indicating that Drp1 suppression might be necessary for CISD1 to perform its protective effects in vitro. In high fat diet (HFD)-fed apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE) mice, tail vein injection of lentiviral vector expressing CISD1 remarkably decreased atherosclerotic lesion area, serum LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride contents. Inflammatory response, cellular total and mitochondrial ROS production, and Drp1 expression levels in aorta tissues were also dramatically ameliorated in HFD-fed ApoE mice, contributing to the inhibition of atherosclerosis in vivo. Therefore, improving CISD1 expression may be a novel therapeutic strategy for atherosclerosis treatment.
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