Key Laboratory of Major Metabolic Diseases and Nutritional Regulation of Anhui Department of Education, College of Food and Biological Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Combined LXR ligand (T0901317) and MEK1/2 inhibitor (U0126) not only reduces atherosclerosis in apoE deficient mice, but also blocks LXR ligand-induced fatty liver and hypertriglyceridemia. However, the atheroprotective function of combined T0901317 and U0126 should be further investigated in LDLR deficient (LDLR-/-) mice since deficiency of LDLR not apoE can occur to humans with a high frequency. Herein, we validated the effectiveness of this combinational therapy on the development of atherosclerosis in LDLR-/- mice to demonstrate its potential application in clinic. We found although T0901317 or U0126 alone reduced atherosclerotic plaques in en face and aortic root areas in HFD-fed LDLR-/- mice, their combination inhibited lesions in a synergistic manner. Combined U0126 and T0901317 had no effect on serum total cholesterol levels. T0901317 deceased HDL-cholesterol levels, which was restored by combined U0126. Meanwhile, U0126 alleviated T0901317-induced triglyceride accumulation, the major adverse effect of T0901317 which limits its clinical utility. Mechanistically, U0126 reduced fatty acid de novo synthesis by inhibiting hepatic fatty acid synthase (FASN) expression, thereby correcting T0901317-induced triglyceride overproduction. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that combination of MEK1/2 inhibitor and LXR ligand can synergistically reduce atherosclerosis in LDLR deficient mice without lipogenic side effects.