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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017, Article ID 3824276, 9 pages
Research Article

Overexpression of Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Increases Macrophage-Derived Foam Cell Accumulation in Atherosclerotic Lesions of Transgenic Rabbits

1Research Institute of Atherosclerotic Disease, Xi’an Jiaotong University Cardiovascular Research Center, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710061, China
2Laboratory Animal Center, Xi’an Jiaotong University Health Science Center, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710061, China
3Laboratory Animal Center, Ningxia Medical University, Ningxia 750004, China
4Department of Molecular Pathology, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Enqi Liu; nc.ude.utjx.liam@iqneuil

Received 27 May 2017; Revised 13 October 2017; Accepted 2 November 2017; Published 28 November 2017

Academic Editor: Fabio Cacciapaglia

Copyright © 2017 Shoucui Gao 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.


High levels of plasma high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) are inversely associated with the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases; thus, pharmacological inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is considered to be a therapeutic method of raising HDL-C levels. However, many CETP inhibitors have failed to achieve a clinical benefit despite raising HDL-C. In the study, we generated transgenic (Tg) rabbits that overexpressed the human CETP gene to examine the influence of CETP on the development of atherosclerosis. Both Tg rabbits and their non-Tg littermates were fed a high cholesterol diet for 16 weeks. Plasma lipids and body weight were measured every 4 weeks. Gross lesion areas of the aortic atherosclerosis along with lesional cellular components were quantitatively analyzed. Overexpression of human CETP did not significantly alter the gross atherosclerotic lesion area, but the number of macrophages in lesions was significantly increased. Overexpression of human CETP did not change the plasma levels of total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but lowered plasma HDL-C and increased triglycerides. These data revealed that human CETP may play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis mainly by decreasing HDL-C levels and increasing the accumulation of macrophage-derived foam cells.