Kabakov AE, Tertov VV, Saenko VA, Poverenny AM, Orekhov AN
Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1992 Jun 63:3 214-20
The influence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients' sera on lipid accumulation in the cultured smooth muscle cells (SMC) from unaffected human aortic intima was examined. It was demonstrated that the cholesterol uptake in the SMC cultured in the presence of SLE sera is 1.5- to 6-fold higher than in the cells cultured with normal human sera (NHS) obtained from healthy donors. Incubation of the SMC with circulating immune complexes (CIC) isolated from lupus sera by precipitation with 2.5% polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG) caused a 3- to 4-fold rise in the intracellular cholesterol level. The atherogenic effect of lupus sera, as well as isolated CIC, strongly correlated (r = 0.98) with the low density lipoprotein (LDL) content in the PEG-precipitated CIC. The cholesterol level in cultured SMC also increased 2- to 3-fold when growth medium was supplemented with LDL, DNA, and anti-DNA autoantibodies (IgG) affinity isolated from lupus sera. Using immunofluorescent staining, it was shown that the addition of a DNA-anti-DNA IgG mixture to the growth medium, together with NHS, stimulated LDL incorporation in the SMC. The results of double-label staining suggest the formation of LDL-DNA-IgG complexes which seem to be entrapped in cells more actively than free LDL. The composition of PEG-precipitated CIC was studied by electrophoresis and immunoblotting. Significant amounts of apolipoprotein B, as well as low molecular weight DNA and immunoglobulins, were found in SLE-derived CIC. The data obtained suggest that the atherogenic effect of human lupus sera in vitro is generally due to the appearance of LDL-containing immune complexes. Different mechanisms possibly involved in the lupus atherogenesis are discussed.