Impaired endothelial function in C-reactive protein overexpressing mice

Academic Article


  • Increasing evidence suggests that the inflammatory biomarker, C-reactive protein (CRP), may play a causal role in the development and progression of atherothrombosis. Since endothelial dysfunction is an early and integral component of atherosclerosis, we hypothesized that endothelial homeostasis would be impaired in CRP-overexpressing CRP transgenic (CRPtg) mice. Male CRPtg and wild-type mice were injected thrice over 2 weeks with vehicle or turpentine to induce the inflammation-sensitive CRP transgene. Serum human CRP levels in turpentine-treated CRPtg mice was 276.28 ± 95.7 μg/ml. Human CRP was undetectable in the sera of wild-type mice and present at only low levels (1.41 ± 0.2 μg/ml) in vehicle-treated CRPtg mice (n = 6-8 mice/group). Aortic segments from turpentine-induced CRP-overexpressing CRPtg mice demonstrated impaired endothelium-dependent responses to acetylcholine vs. those from vehicle-treated CRPtg controls (57.1 ± 9.5% vs. 85.0 ± 5.0%, P < 0.05, n = 6). Nitric oxide release as well as phosphorylated eNOS protein expression from isolated aortic segments of CRPtg mice overexpressing CRP were markedly reduced compared to that from vehicle-treated controls. Masson's trichrome staining revealed increased perivascular fibrosis in CRP-overexpressing CRPtg mice. CRP overexpression was also associated with augmented aortic endothelial staining for VCAM-1 and MCP-1 and enhanced macrophage infiltration. Mice overexpressing the human CRP gene exhibit endothelial dysfunction, possibly via reduced NO bioavailability, with resultant changes in vascular structure. These data further support a role for CRP in mediating endothelial dysfunction. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

  • Atherosclerosis  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Teoh H; Quan A; Lovren F; Wang G; Tirgari S; Szmitko PE; Szalai AJ; Ward ME; Verma S
  • Start Page

  • 318
  • End Page

  • 325
  • Volume

  • 201
  • Issue

  • 2