IL-1β inhibition partially negates the beneficial effects of diet-induced lipid lowering

Santosh Karnewar, Vaishnavi Karnewar, Rebecca Deaton, Laura S Shankman, Ernest D Benavente, Corey M Williams, Xenia Bradley, Gabriel F Alencar, Gamze B Bulut, Sara Kirmani, Richard A Baylis, Eli R Zunder, Hester M den Ruijter, Gerard Pasterkamp, Gary K Owens

Research output: Working paperPreprintAcademic


BACKGROUND: Thromboembolic events secondary to rupture or erosion of advanced atherosclerotic lesions are the leading cause of death in the world. The most common and effective means to reduce these major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), including myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, is aggressive lipid lowering via a combination of drugs and dietary modifications. However, little is known regarding the effects of reducing dietary lipids on the composition and stability of advanced atherosclerotic lesions, the mechanisms that regulate these processes, and what therapeutic approaches might augment the benefits of lipid lowering.

METHODS: Smooth muscle cell (SMC)-lineage tracing Apoe - /- mice were fed a Western diet (WD) for 18 weeks and then switched to a low-fat chow diet for 12 weeks. We assessed lesion size and remodeling indices, as well as the cellular composition of aortic and brachiocephalic artery (BCA) lesions, indices of plaque stability, overall plaque burden, and phenotypic transitions of SMC, and other lesion cells by SMC-lineage tracing combined with scRNA-seq, CyTOF, and immunostaining plus high resolution confocal microscopic z-stack analysis. In addition, to determine if treatment with a potent inhibitor of inflammation could augment the benefits of chow diet-induced reductions in LDL-cholesterol, SMC-lineage tracing Apoe - /- mice were fed a WD for 18 weeks and then chow diet for 12 weeks prior to treating them with an IL-1β or control antibody (Ab) for 8-weeks.

RESULTS: Lipid-lowering by switching Apoe - /- mice from a WD to a chow diet reduced LDL-cholesterol levels by 70% and resulted in multiple beneficial effects including reduced overall aortic plaque burden as well as reduced intraplaque hemorrhage and necrotic core area. However, contrary to expectations, IL-1β Ab treatment resulted in multiple detrimental changes including increased plaque burden, BCA lesion size, as well as increased cholesterol crystal accumulation, intra-plaque hemorrhage, necrotic core area, and senescence as compared to IgG control Ab treated mice. Furthermore, IL-1β Ab treatment upregulated neutrophil degranulation pathways but down-regulated SMC extracellular matrix pathways likely important for the protective fibrous cap.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, IL-1β appears to be required for chow diet-induced reductions in plaque burden and increases in multiple indices of plaque stability.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2023


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