Production of thromboxane (TX) A2 and PGI2/ prostacyclin (PGI2) is increased in patients with atherosclerosis. However, their roles in atherogenesis have not been critically defined. To examine this issue, we cross-bred atherosclerosis-prone apoE-deficient mice with mice deficient in either the TXA receptor (TP) or the PGI receptor (IP). Although they showed levels of serum cholesterol and triglyceride similar to those of apoE-deficient mice, apoE-/-TP-/- mice exhibited a significant delay in atherogenesis, and apoE-/-IP-/- mice exhibited a significant acceleration in atherogenesis compared with mice deficient in apoE alone. The plaques in apoE-/-IP-/- mice showed partial endothelial disruption and exhibited enhanced expression of ICAM-1 and decreased expression of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1) in the overlying endothelial cells compared with those of apoE -/-TP-/- mice. Platelet activation with thrombin ex vivo revealed higher and lower sensitivity for surface P-selectin expression in platelets of apoE-/-IP-/- and apoE-/-TP -/- mice, respectively, than in those of apoE-/- mice. Intravital microscopy of the common carotid artery revealed a significantly greater number of leukocytes rolling on the vessel walls in apoE -/-IP-/- mice than in either apoE-/-TP -/- or apoE-/- mice. We conclude that TXA2 promotes and PGI2 prevents the initiation and progression of atherogenesis through control of platelet activation and leukocyte-endothelial cell interaction.
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