Vitamin E reduces the uptake of oxidized LDL by inhibiting CD36 scavenger receptor expression in cultured aortic smooth muscle cells

Roberta Ricciarelli, Jean Marc Zingg, Angelo Azzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background - Vitamin E is well known as an antioxidant, and numerous studies suggest that it has a preventive role in atherosclerosis, although the mechanism of action still remains unclear. Methods and Results - The original aim of this study was to establish whether α-tocopherol (the most active form of vitamin E) acts at the earliest events on the cascade of atherosclerosis progression, that of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) uptake and foam- cell formation. We show here that the CD36 scavenger receptor (a specific receptor for oxLDL) is expressed in cultured human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Treatment of SMCs and HL-60 macrophages with α-tocopherol (50 μmol/L, a physiological concentration) downregulates CD36 expression by reducing its promoter activity. Furthermore, we find that α-tocopherol treatment of SMCs leads to a reduction of oxLDL uptake. Conclusions - This study indicates that CD36 is expressed in cultured human SMCs. In these cells, CD36 transports oxLDL into the cytosol, α-Tocopherol inhibits oxLDL uptake by a mechanism involving downregulation of CD36 mRNA and protein expression. Therefore, the beneficial effect of α-tocopherol against atherosclerosis can be explained, at least in part, by its effect of lowering the uptake of oxidized lipoproteins, with consequent reduction of foam cell formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Lipoproteins
  • Receptors
  • Tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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