Targeting at enhancing reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is apromising strategy for treating atherosclerosis via infusion of reconstitute high density lipoprotein (HDL) as cholesterol acceptors or increase of cholesterol efflux by activation of macrophage liver X receptors (LXRs). However, systemic activation of LXRs triggers excessive lipogenesis in the liver and infusion of HDL downregulates cholesterol efflux from macrophages. Here we describe an enlightened strategy using phospholipid reconstituted apoA-I peptide (22A)-derived synthetic HDL (sHDL) to deliver LXR agonists to the atheroma and examine their effect on atherosclerosis regression in vivo. A synthetic LXR agonist, T0901317 (T1317) was encapsulated in sHDL nanoparticles (sHDL-T1317). Similar to the T1317 compound, the sHDL-T1317 nanoparticles upregulated the expression of ATP-binding cassette transporters and increased cholesterol efflux in macrophages in vitro and in vivo. The sHDL nanoparticles accumulated in the atherosclerotic plaques of ApoE-deficient mice. Moreover, a 6-week low-dose LXR agonist-sHDL treatment induced atherosclerosis regression while avoiding lipid accumulation in the liver. These findings identify LXR agonist loaded sHDL nanoparticles as a promising therapeutic approach to treat atherosclerosis by targeting RCT in a multifaceted manner: sHDL itself serving as both a drug carrier and cholesterol acceptor and the LXR agonist mediating upregulation of ABC transporters in the aorta.
Guo, Y., Yuan, W., Yu, B., Kuai, R., Hu, W., Morin, E. E., … Eugene Chen, Y. (2018). Synthetic High-Density Lipoprotein-Mediated Targeted Delivery of Liver X Receptors Agonist Promotes Atherosclerosis Regression. EBioMedicine, 28, 225–233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.12.021