Lentiviral transduction of ApoAI into hematopoietic progenitor cells and macrophages applications to cell therapy of atherosclerosis

Yan Ru Su, John L. Blakemore, Youmin Zhang, MacRae F. Linton, Sergio Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective - We used genetically engineered mouse hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) to investigate the therapeutic effects of human apoAI on atherosclerosis in apoE-/- mice. Methods and Results - Lentiviral constructs expressing either human apoAI (LV-apoAI) or green fluorescent protein (LV-GFP) cDNA under a macrophage specific promoter (CD68) were generated and used for ex vivo transduction of mouse HPCs and macrophages. The transduction efficiency was >25% for HPCs and >70% for macrophages. ApoAI was found in the macrophage culture media, mostly associated with the HDL fraction. Interestingly, a significant increase in mRNA and protein levels for ATP binding cassette A1 (ABCA1) and ABCG1 were found in apoAI-expressing macrophages after acLDL loading. Expression of apoAI significantly increased cholesterol efflux in wild-type and apoE-/- macrophages. HPCs transduced with LV-apoAI ex vivo and then transplanted into apoE-/- mice caused a 50% reduction in atherosclerotic lesion area compared to GFP controls, without influencing plasma HDL-C levels. Conclusions - Lentiviral transduction of apoAI into HPCs reduces atherosclerosis in apoE-/- mice. Expression of apoAI in macrophages improves cholesterol trafficking in wild-type apoE-producing macrophages and causes upregulation of ABCA1 and ABCG1. These novel observations set the stage for a cell therapy approach to atherosclerosis regression, exploiting the cooperation between apoE and apoAI to maximize cholesterol exit from the plaque.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1439-1446
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein ai
  • Cell therapy of atherosclerosis
  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Hematopoietic progenitor cells
  • Lentiviral vector
  • Macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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