Objectives: Interleukin (IL)-10 has anti-atherogenic properties. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in IL-10 protection against atherosclerosis in vivo remain poorly understood. In this study, we examined the effect of IL-10 cDNA in vivo electrotransfer on diet-induced, endothelial activation.
Methods: C57BL/6J mice were fed an atherogenic diet for 10 days. Expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 was examined in the aortic sinus, a region predisposed to atherogenesis in mice, using immunohistochemistry. NF-kappaB activation was examined using a monoclonal antibody that selectively reacts with the activated form of the p65 subunit.
Results: We detected a low basal expression of activated NF-kappaB, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 in the endothelium of the aortic sinus. Endothelial expression of activated NF-kappaB, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 was markedly increased after 10 days on the atherogenic diet (p < 0.001). In vivo electrotransfer of a murine IL-10-encoding plasmid completely prevented diet-induced endothelial upregulation of activated NF-kappaB, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: In vivo electrotransfer of IL-10 cDNA prevents diet-induced endothelial activation. These results suggest that the protective effects of IL-10 may already occur in the very early stages of atherogenesis.