Atherosclerosis is a systemic chronic inflammatory disease. Many antioxidants including alpha-lipoic acid (LA), a product of lipoic acid synthase (Lias), have proven to be effective for treatment of this disease. However, the question remains whether LA regulates the immune response as a protective mechanism against atherosclerosis. We initially investigated whether enhanced endogenous antioxidant can retard the development of atherosclerosis via immunomodulation. To explore the impact of enhanced endogenous antioxidant on the retardation of atherosclerosis via immune regulation, our laboratory has recently created a double mutant mouse model, using apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe) mice crossbred with mice overexpressing lipoic acid synthase gene (Lias), designated as LiasApoe mice. Their littermates, LiasApoe mice, served as a control. Distinct redox environments between the two strains of mice have been established and they can be used to facilitate identification of antioxidant targets in the immune response. At 6 months of age, LiasApoe mice had profoundly decreased atherosclerotic lesion size in the aortic sinus compared to their LiasApoe littermates, accompanied by significantly enhanced numbers of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and anti-oxidized LDL autoantibody in the vascular system, and reduced T cell infiltrates in aortic walls. Our results represent a novel exploration into an environment with increased endogenous antioxidant and its ability to alleviate atherosclerosis, likely through regulation of the immune response. These outcomes shed light on a new therapeutic strategy using antioxidants to lessen atherosclerosis.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.