Apo E is a key molecule in the lipoprotein metabolism; thus, genetic manipulation of apo E may prove useful in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. To test the feasibility of this idea, we have generated low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) knockout mice that overexpress the rat apo E transgene (ETg+/+:LDLRKO), and compared their plasma lipoprotein profiles with those of nonexpressing LDLR knockout mice (ETg-/-:LDLRKO). On a normal chow diet, the mean plasma cholesterol level of ETg+/+:LDLRKO mice was significantly lower than that of ETg-/-:LDLRKO mice (189 versus 240 mg/dl, P < 0. 01). The LDL fraction was selectively reduced in the ETg+/+:LDLRKO mice. Despite the challenge with an atherogenic diet, cholesterol lowering was persistently observed and fatty streak lesions in the aortic sinus were significantly suppressed in the mice overexpressing apo E. These results imply that stimulation of hepatic production of apo E may be used as a promising adjunctive therapy for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
J Osuga, M Yonemoto, N Yamada, H Shimano, H Yagyu, K Ohashi, K Harada, T Kamei, Y Yazaki, S Ishibashi