Objective: To investigate the effect of S18886, a novel TP (thromboxane A2 and prostaglandin endoperoxide) receptor antagonist, on the development of aortic fatty streaks and advanced lesions in a rabbit model of atherosclerosis and restenosis.
Methods and results: The right iliac artery of 96 rabbits (8 groups, n=12/group) was balloon injured, then the animals were fed a cholesterol-enriched diet for 6 weeks. In Groups 1-4, concomitant oral administration of S18886 at 5 mg/kg/day over the 6-week-period reduced the intima to media ratio of lesions in the uninjured aorta and injured iliac artery, the accumulation of macrophages and the expression of ICAM-1 compared with 1 mg/kg/day S18886, 30 mg/kg/day aspirin and placebo, with no effect on body weight or plasma cholesterol levels. In Groups 5-8, 2 weeks of treatment with 5 mg/kg/day S18886 reduced the intima to media ratio of restenosing lesions when pre-formed iliac artery lesions underwent a second balloon injury at week 6. The smaller lesions resulting from S18886 treatment correlated with a significant decrease in the neointimal area occupied by macrophages, as well as in ICAM-1 expression, with no effect on the smooth muscle component. Aspirin treatment had no significant effect on the neointimal smooth muscle component, but partially inhibited macrophage infiltration, without inhibiting ICAM-1 expression.
Conclusion: Inhibition of the TP receptor using S18886 causes a significant decrease in the recruitment of monocyte/macrophages within fatty streaks in the uninjured aorta and within primary and restenosing atherosclerotic lesions in the iliac artery of rabbits. Since TP receptor agonists, such as thromboxane A2, prostanoid endoperoxides and isoprostanes participate in vessel wall inflammation and are localized and increased in atherosclerotic plaques, treatment with S18886 may enhance atherosclerotic lesion stability by attenuating inflammatory processes that ultimately lead to plaque rupture.