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Author Notes:

Correspondence to Hanjoong Jo: hanjoong.jo@bme.gatech.edu, Phone: 404-712-9654, Fax: 404-727-9873

S.K., D.W.K., and A.R. performed all experiments. S.K., D.W.K., A.R., and H.J. analyzed the data. S.K. and H.J. wrote the manuscript. H.J. supervised the studies and secured funding.

All authors reviewed the manuscript.

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by funding from National Institutes of Health Grants HL119798, HL113451, HL095070, and HL124879 to HJ. HJ is John and Jan Portman Professor.

This project was supported in part by the Viral Vector Core of the Emory Neuroscience NINDS Core Facilities Grant, P30NS055077.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Medicine, Research & Experimental
  • Pathology
  • Research & Experimental Medicine
  • APOE(-/-) MICE

Accelerated atherosclerosis development in C57Bl6 mice by overexpressing AAV-mediated PCSK9 and partial carotid ligation


Journal Title:

Laboratory Investigation


Volume 97, Number 8


, Pages 935-945

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Studying the role of a particular gene in atherosclerosis typically requires a time-consuming and often difficult process of generating double knockouts or transgenics on ApoE -/- or LDL receptor (LDLR) -/- background. Recently, it was reported that adeno-associated-virus-8 (AAV8)-mediated overexpression of PCSK9 (AAV8-PCSK9) rapidly induced hyperlipidemia. However, using this method in C57BL6 wild-type (C57) mice, it took ∼3 months to develop atherosclerosis. Our partial carotid ligation model is used to rapidly develop atherosclerosis by inducing disturbed flow in the left common carotid artery within 2 weeks in ApoE -/- or LDLR -/- mice. Here, we combined these two approaches to develop an accelerated model of atherosclerosis in C57 mice. C57 mice were injected with AAV9-PCSK9 or AAV9-luciferase (control) and high-fat diet was initiated. A week later, partial ligation was performed. Compared to the control , AAV-PCSK9 led to elevated serum PCSK9, hypercholesterolemia, and rapid atherosclerosis development within 3 weeks as determined by gross plaque imaging, and staining with Oil-Red-O, Movat's pentachrome, and CD45 antibody. These plaque lesions were comparable to the atherosclerotic lesions that have been previously observed in ApoE -/- or LDLR -/- mice that were subjected to partial carotid ligation and high-fat diet. Next, we tested whether our method can be utilized to rapidly determine the role of a particular gene in atherosclerosis. Using eNOS -/- and NOX1 â y mice on C57 background, we found that the eNOS -/- mice developed more advanced lesions, while the NOX1 â y mice developed less atherosclerotic lesions as compared to the C57 controls. These results are consistent with the previous findings using double knockouts (eNOS -/- -ApoE -/- and NOX1 â y -ApoE -/- ). AAV9-PCSK9 injection followed by partial carotid ligation is an effective and time-saving approach to rapidly induce atherosclerosis. This accelerated model is well-suited to quickly determine the role of gene(s) interest without generating double or triple knockouts.

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