Enhanced plasma levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein increase circulating nuclear factor-kappa B activation in patients with unstable angina

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Sep 6;46(5):799-806. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2005.05.063.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of circulating levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) on nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of patients with unstable angina (UA) or stable angina (SA) and control subjects.

Background: Nuclear factor-kB might be involved in atherosclerosis, as is suggested by the presence of activated NF-kB in human atherosclerotic lesions.

Methods: Levels of plasma ox-LDL and circulating NF-kB in PBMC (and in separated lymphocytes and monocytes) were measured in 27 control subjects and 29 SA and 27 UA patients. In in vitro studies, the effect of ox-LDL and of the sera derived from a subgroup of UA patients and control subjects on monocytic NF-kB activation was also evaluated.

Results: The UA and SA patients had higher levels of circulating ox-LDL and NF-kB in PBMC than control subjects (p < 0.001). The increase in circulating NF-kB was mainly due to the activation of monocytes. In the in vitro studies, ox-LDL dose-dependently increased the activation of NF-kB in monocytes, but not in lymphocytes derived from healthy volunteers. This increase was related to the expression of lectin-like ox-LDL receptor-1 on monocytes. The incubation of monocytes with the sera derived from the UA patients induced a significant increase in NF-kB activation compared with the sera derived from the control subjects.

Conclusions: The data suggest that the activation of NF-kB in monocytes of UA patients is, at least in part, induced by circulating molecules such as ox-LDL, which has been found to be particularly elevated in UA patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina, Unstable / blood*
  • Angina, Unstable / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • NF-kappa B / biosynthesis*
  • NF-kappa B / blood
  • Receptors, Oxidized LDL / blood


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, Oxidized LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein