Intravenous administration of apolipoprotein (apo) A-I complexed with phospholipid has been shown to rapidly reduce plaque size in both animal models and humans. Short synthetic amphipathic peptides can mimic the antiatherogenic properties of apoA-I and have been proposed as alternative therapeutic agents. In this study, we investigated the atheroprotective effect of the 5A peptide, a bihelical amphipathic peptide that specifically effluxes cholesterol from cells by ATP-binding cassette transporter 1 (ABCA1). 5A stimulated a 3.5-fold increase in ABCA1-mediated efflux from cells and an additional 2.5-fold increase after complexing it with phospholipid (1:7 mol/mol). 5A-palmitoyl oleoyl phosphatidyl choline (POPC), but not free 5A, was also found to promote cholesterol efflux by ABCG1. When incubated with human serum, 5A-POPC bound primarily to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) but also to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and promoted the transfer of cholesterol from LDL to HDL. Twenty-four hours after intravenous injection of 5A-POPC (30 mg/kg) into apoE-knockout (KO) mice, both the cholesterol (181%) and phospholipid (219%) content of HDL significantly increased. By an in vivo cholesterol isotope dilution study and monitoring of the flux of cholesterol from radiolabeled macrophages to stool, 5A-POPC treatment was observed to increase reverse cholesterol transport. In three separate studies, 5A when complexed with various phospholipids reduced aortic plaque surface area by 29 to 53% (n = 8 per group; p < 0.02) in apoE-KO mice. No signs of toxicity from the treatment were observed during these studies. In summary, 5A promotes cholesterol efflux both in vitro and in vivo and reduces atherosclerosis in apoE-KO mice, indicating that it may be a useful alternative to apoA-I for HDL therapy.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
|Published - Aug 2010