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Transgenic mouse models to study the role of APOE in hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis

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Author: Hofker, M.H. · Vlijmen, B.J.M. van · Havekes, L.M.
Institution: Gaubius Instituut TNO
Source:Atherosclerosis, 1, 137, 1-11
Identifier: 234398
doi: DOI:10.1016/S0021-9150(97)00266-9
Keywords: Health · APOE · Apolipoprotein · Cholesterol · Gene targeting · Lipoprotein · Triglyceride · Animals · Apolipoproteins E · Arteriosclerosis · Disease Models, Animal · Humans · Hyperlipidemias · Mice · Mice, Transgenic


Transgenic technologies have provided a series of very useful mouse models to study hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. Normally, mice carry cholesterol mainly in the high density lipoprotein (HDL) sized lipoproteins, and have low density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol levels. These low LDL and VLDL levels are due to the very rapid metabolism of remnant clearance in mice, which hamper metabolic studies. In addition, due to the lack of atherogenic lipoproteins, mice will not readily develop atherosclerosis. This situation has changed completely, because to date, most known genes in lipoprotein metabolism have been used in transgenesis to obtain mice in which genes have been silenced or overexpressed. These experiments have yielded many mouse strains with high plasma lipid levels and a greater susceptibility for developing atherosclerosis. One of the most widely used strains are knock-out mice deficient for apoE, which is one of the central players in VLDL metabolism. Subsequently, a wide variety of other transgenic studies involving APOE have been performed elucidating the role of apoE and apoE mutants in lipolysis, remnant clearance, cellular cholesterol efflux and atherogenesis. In addition, the APOE mouse models are excellent tools for the development of gene therapy for hyperlipidemias.