Tertov VV, Orekhov AN, Kacharava AG, Sobenin IA, Perova NV, Smirnov VN
Exp Mol Pathol 1990 Jun 52:3 300-8
Blood serum of most patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) caused a 2- to 5-fold increase in the lipid content of smooth muscle cells cultured from unaffected human aortic intima, i.e., possessed an atherogenic potential manifested in culture. Treatment of the CHD patients' serum with 2.5% polyethylene glycol 6000 removed the circulating immune complexes. The serum subjected to this treatment lost its atherogenic properties, i.e., failed to increase the content of lipids in cultured cells. Incubation of smooth muscle cells derived from human aortic intima with circulating immune complexes isolated from an atherogenic patient's serum caused a 1.5- to 3-fold rise in the intracellular cholesterol. Circulating immune complexes contained apolipoprotein B (apo B), but not apolipoproteins A1 and E. The apo B content strongly correlated with the total cholesterol content. The cholesterol/apo B ratio of the complexes was characteristic of low density lipoproteins (LDL), but not of very low density lipoproteins or intermediate density lipoproteins. The composition of the main lipid classes in these complexes was similar to that in LDL. Blood sera of most (90%) CHD patients was characterized by a high cholesterol and apolipoprotein B content in circulating immune complexes. The ability of these sera to induce lipid accumulation in cultured cells directly correlated with the cholesterol and apolipoprotein B level of circulating immune complexes (r = 0.91). These findings suggest that the atherogenic potential of CHD patients' blood serum is due to LDL-containing immune complexes.