Expression of the leptin receptor in different types of vascular lesions
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- Schroeter, M.R., Schneiderman, J., Schumann, B. et al. Histochem Cell Biol (2007) 128: 323. doi:10.1007/s00418-007-0319-1
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Clinical and experimental evidence suggests that the adipokine leptin may be important for the development of cardiovascular complications associated with obesity, possibly through interaction with its receptor on vascular cells. In the present study, we systematically analysed expression of the leptin receptor in normal and diseased vascular specimens using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and quantitative real time-PCR. In particular, human atherosclerotic plaques as well as experimental vascular lesions induced in hypercholesterolemic mice and minipigs, respectively, were examined. Our results demonstrate the presence of the leptin receptor in normal vessel wall segments as well as neointimal or atherosclerotic lesions. In the latter, ObR expressing cells were predominantly localised on the luminal border and within the subintima, and coexpression of von Willebrand factor, VEGF receptor-2 or VE cadherin identified them as endothelial cells. Moreover, CD14-positive monocytes/macrophages were strongly positive for the leptin receptor. In contrast, only few ObR-expressing smooth muscle cells could be detected in human atherosclerotic plaques. The findings of the present study thus support a possible action of leptin on the cardiovascular system by demonstrating expression of the leptin receptor in different types of vascular lesions.