Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Bernardo L. Trigatti


Suleiman A. Igdoura



Committee Member

Ray Truant


In atherosclerotic plaques, macrophages ingest modified LDL and turn to foam cells. Others have shown that SR-BI expression levels inversely correlated with cellular cholesterol levels, and is independent of well characterized cholesterol sensing pathways; SREBP and LXR. Thus the mechanism of regulation of SR-BI is unclear. In this study, we showed that treating macrophage with agents known to increase cellular cholesterol levels, namely acLDL, LDL, MβCD:Cholesterol, resulted in reduction in HMGCoAR mRNA and SR-BI expression levels. In contrast, acLDL did not reduce SR-BI mRNA levels in macrophages from acLDL SR-A KO mice, demonstrating that acLDL mediate suppression of SR-BI was dependent on SR-A. Fucoidan, a known competitive inhibitor of acLDL binding to SR-A, and subsequent degradation, also suppressed SR-BI expression levels. Unlike acLDL, however, fucoidan induced mRNA levels corresponding to the pro-inflammatory genes iNOS and IL-6 mRNA levels, and its effects were not altered by the lack of SR-A. Instead, fucoidan mediated stimulation of iNOS and IL-6 and suppression of SR-BI mRNA levels was prevented by an anti-CD14 blocking antibody, demonstrating that the fucoidan mediated effects were dependent on CD14. Interleukin-15, a pro-inflammatory cytokine that binds to a distinct receptor, also induced iNOS and IL-6 mRNA levels and reduced SR-BI expression, suggesting that inflammatory signaling in general can reduce SR-BI expression levels. Treatment of macrophages with the lipoproteins acLDL, LDL or HDL suppressed the induction of iNOS and IL-6 mRNA by fucoidan or IL-15. Macrophages foam cells in an atherosclerotic plaque may have reduced SR-BI due to exposure with modified LDL or inflammatory cytokines or both in an atherosclerotic plaque. SR-BI expression in macrophages protects against atherosclerosis development. Our data suggests that modified lipoproteins as well as inflammatory stimuli suppress SR-BI expression in macrophages and this may contribute to their pro-apoptotic properties.

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