Loss of Apoptosis Regulator through modulating IAP expression (ARIA) Protects Blood Vessels from Atherosclerosis [Gene Regulation]

December 22nd, 2014 by Matsuo, K., Akakabe, Y., Kitamura, Y., Shimoda, Y., Ono, K., Ueyama, T., Matoba, S., Yamada, H., Hatakeyama, K., Asada, Y., Emoto, N., Ikeda, K.

Atherosclerosis is the primary cause for the cardiovascular disease. Here we identified a novel mechanism underlying atherosclerosis, which is provided by ARIA, the transmembrane protein that we recently identified. ARIA is expressed in macrophages present in human atherosclerotic plaque as well as in mouse peritoneal macrophages. When challenged with acetylated-LDL, peritoneal macrophages isolated from ARIA-deficient mice showed substantially reduced foam-cell formation, while the uptake did not differ from that in wild-type macrophages. Mechanistically, loss of ARIA enhanced PI3K/Akt signaling and consequently reduced the expression of ACAT-1, an enzyme that esterifies cholesterol and promotes its storage, in macrophages. Inhibition of PI3K abolished the reduction in ACAT-1 expression and foam-cell formation in ARIA-deficient macrophages. In contrast, overexpression of ARIA reduced Akt activity and enhanced foam cell formation in RAW264.7 macrophages, which was abrogated by treatment with ACAT inhibitor. Of note, genetic deletion of ARIA significantly reduced the atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice. Oil red-O-positive lipid-rich lesion was reduced, which was accompanied by an increase of collagen fiber and decrease of necrotic core lesion in atherosclerotic plaque in ARIA/ApoE double-deficient mice. Analysis of bone-marrow chimeric mice revealed that loss of ARIA in bone-marrow cells was sufficient to reduce the atherosclerogenesis in ApoE-deficient mice. Together, we identified a unique role of ARIA in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis at least partly by modulating macrophage foam cell formation. Our results indicate that ARIA could serve as a novel pharmacotherapeutic target for the treatment of atherosclerotic diseases.