Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Proliferation of the Vasa Vasorum in a Rabbit Model of Atherosclerosis as Evaluated by Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging and Histology
Whether lipopolysaccharide (LPS) can promote vasa vasorum (VV) proliferation for atherosclerosis in vivo is unclear. Eighteen rabbits with atherosclerosis were randomly assigned into one of three groups of six. Group A received biweekly injections of 10 mL saline after 2 weeks of balloon injury. Groups B and C received biweekly intravenous injections of 3.0 μg LPS in 10 mL saline at weeks 10 and 4, respectively, until study termination. LPS significantly increased the levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein and decreased the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Group C had significant larger plaques and more macrophages than group A (p = 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). Contrast enhancement ultrasound imaging and histological detection demonstrated that plaques in group C had a significantly higher VV density than that in group A (p = 0.009 and p = 0.002, respectively). In summary, VV proliferation for plaque destabilization can be accelerated by LPS-induced systemic inflammation and changes in lipid profiles.