Disruption of mTORC1 in Macrophages Decreases Chemokine Gene Expression and Atherosclerosis
Rationale: The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibitor, rapamycin, has been shown to decrease atherosclerosis, even while increasing plasma LDL levels. This suggests an anti-atherogenic effect possibly mediated by modulation of inflammatory responses in atherosclerotic plaques.
Objective: To assess the role of macrophage mTORC1 in atherogenesis.
Methods and Results: We transplanted bone marrow from mice in which a key mTORC1 adaptor, Raptor, was deleted in macrophages by Cre/loxP recombination (Mac-RapKO mice) into Ldlr-/- mice and then fed them the Western-type diet (WTD). Atherosclerotic lesions from Mac-RapKO mice showed decreased infiltration of macrophages, lesion size and chemokine gene expression compared with control mice. Treatment of macrophages with minimally modified LDL (mmLDL) resulted in increased levels of chemokine mRNAs and STAT3 phosphorylation; these effects were reduced in Mac-RapKO macrophages. While wild-type and Mac-RapKO macrophages showed similar STAT3 phosphorylation on Tyr705, Mac-RapKO macrophages showed decreased STAT3 Ser727 phosphorylation in response to mmLDL treatment and decreased Ccl2 promoter binding of STAT3.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate cross-talk between nutritionally-induced mTORC1 signaling and mmLDL-mediated inflammatory signaling via combinatorial phosphorylation of STAT3 in macrophages, leading to increased STAT3 activity on the CCL2 (MCP-1) promoter with pro-atherogenic consequences.
- Received August 9, 2013.
- Revision received March 25, 2014.
- Accepted March 31, 2014.