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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 507208, 8 pages
Research Article

Silence of NLRP3 Suppresses Atherosclerosis and Stabilizes Plaques in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice

1Department of Cardiology, Qianfoshan Hospital, Shandong University, 16766 Jingshi Road, Jinan 250014 , China
2Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250355, China

Received 10 March 2014; Accepted 20 May 2014; Published 4 June 2014

Academic Editor: Tânia Silvia Fröde

Copyright © 2014 Fei Zheng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. The role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in atherosclerosis remains controversial. The aim of this study was to determine whether inhibition of NLRP3 signaling by lentivirus-mediated RNA interference could reduce atherosclerosis and stabilizes plaques. We also tried to explore the mechanisms of the impact of NLRP3 inflammasome on atherosclerosis. Methods. Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice aged 8 weeks were fed a high-fat diet and were injected with NLRP3 interfering or mock viral suspension after 4 weeks. Lentivirus transfer was repeated in 2 weeks. Four weeks after the first lentivirus injection, we evaluated the effects of NLRP3 gene silencing on plaque composition and stability and on cholesterol efflux and collagen metabolism, by histopathologic analyses and real-time PCR. Results. Gene silence of NLRP3 prevented plaques progression and inhibited inductions of proinflammatory cytokines. Moreover, this RNA interference reduced plaque content of macrophages and lipid, and increased plaque content of smooth muscle cells and collagen, leading to the stabilizing of atherosclerotic plaques. Conclusions. NLRP3 inflammasomes may play a vital role in atherosclerosis, and lentivirus-mediated NLRP3 silencing would be a new strategy to inhibit plaques progression and to reduce local inflammation.