Cardiac apoptosis caused by elevated cholesterol level in experimental autoimmune myocarditis.Exp Cell Res. 2020 Jul 09 [Online ahead of print]EC
It has been reported that cholesterol-lowing agents can ameliorate severity of myocarditis. However, the beneficial effect of the agents has been claimed to be independent of cholesterol reduction as there is no significant change in the plasma cholesterol level in myocarditis. In the present study, using experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) rats as an animal model, we demonstrated that EAM induced elevation of cholesterol level and impaired cholesterol efflux capacity in the cardiac tissue. Moreover, serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) content was reduced and HDL function associated protein Paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity was decreased. Besides, the major structural protein within HDL, Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) expression in the cardiac tissues was significantly reduced while the level of serum ApoA1 was not significantly altered. Importantly, cholesterol depleting agent methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) alleviated the development of EAM, as monitored by decreased ratio of heart weight to body weight (HW/BW), decreased infiltration of inflammatory cells and collagen deposition, improved cardiac function, reduced expression of apoptosis-related protein Bax, Fas, FasL and caspase-3 and increased level of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. These results suggest that reduction of cholesterol level in cardiac tissue could suppress EAM-induced cardiac apoptosis through both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways.