Hepatic lipase (HL) has a well-established role in lipoprotein metabolism. However, its role in atherosclerosis is poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that HL deficiency raises the proatherogenic apoB-containing lipoprotein levels in plasma but reduces atherosclerosis in lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) transgenic (Tg) mice, similar to results previously observed with HL-deficient apoE-KO mice. These findings suggest that HL has functions that modify atherogenic risk that are separate from its role in lipoprotein metabolism. We used bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to generate apoE-KO and apoE-KO × HL-KO mice, as well as LCAT-Tg and LCAT-Tg × HL-KO mice, chimeric for macrophage HL gene expression. Using in situ RNA hybridization, we demonstrated localized production of HL by donor macrophages in the artery wall. We found that expression of HL by macrophages enhances early aortic lesion formation in both apoE-KO and LCAT-Tg mice, without changing the plasma lipid profile, lipoprotein lipid composition, or HL and lipoprotein lipase activities. HL does, however, enhance oxidized LDL uptake by peritoneal macrophages. These combined data demonstrate that macrophage-derived HL significantly contributes to early aortic lesion formation in two independent mouse models and identify a novel mechanism, separable from the role of HL in plasma lipoprotein metabolism, by which HL modulates atherogenic risk in vivo.
Zengxuan Nong, Herminia González-Navarro, Marcelo Amar, Lita Freeman, Catherine Knapper, Edward B. Neufeld, Beverly J. Paigen, Robert F. Hoyt, Jamila Fruchart-Najib, Silvia Santamarina-Fojo