Activated lipid-laden macrophages in the vascular wall are key modulators of the inflammatory processes underlying atherosclerosis. We demonstrate here that the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter ABCA1 is induced during differentiation of human monocytes into macrophages. ABCA1 has been implicated in macrophage interleukin-1β secretion and apoptosis. Moreover, ABCA1 mRNA and protein levels are strongly upregulated by uptake of modified LDL and downregulated by HDL3-mediated lipid efflux in macrophages. Mutation analysis in patients with the classical Tangier disease (TD), a monogenetic disorder characterized by hypersplenism, macrophage accumulation and deposition of cholesteryl esters in the reticuloendothelial system, low plasma HDL and premature atherosclerosis, revealed deleterious mutations in their ABCA1 gene. The localization pattern of the mutations within the ABCA1 protein appears to determine the tropism for either the reticulo-endothelial system, as seen in the classical TD phenotype, or the artery wall, as in the case of HDL deficiency in the absence of splenomegaly. In a comprehensive analysis of the expression and regulation of all currently known human ABC transporters, we identified additional cholesterol-responsive genes that are induced during monocyte differentiation into macrophages, Our results indicate a dual regulatory function for ABCA1 in macrophage lipid metabolism and inflammation. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- ABC transporter