Aims: New strategies to overcome complications of cardiovascular diseases are needed. Since it has been demonstrated that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease, modulation of the immune system may be a promising approach. Previously, it was suggested that antibodies may confer protective effects on the development of atherosclerosis. In this study, we hypothesised that passive immunization with anti-oxLDL IgM antibodies specific for hypochlorite (HOCl) may be athero-protective in mice.
Methods and results: Monoclonal mouse IgM antibodies were produced and the antibody with specificity for hypochlorite-oxLDL (HOCl-oxLDL) (Moab A7S8) was selected. VH sequence determination revealed that Moab A7S8 is a natural IgM antibody. Atherosclerosis in LDLr(-/-) mice was induced by a perivascular collar placement around the right carotid artery in combination with feeding a high-fat diet. Subsequently, the mice were treated every six days with 500 µg Moab A7S8, non-relevant IgM or with PBS and the carotid arteries and aortic roots were studied for atherosclerosis. Passive immunization with this Moab A7S8 resulted in a significant reduced plaque volume formation in LDLr(-/-) mice when compared with PBS treatment (P = 0.002 and P = 0.035). Cholesterol levels decreased by 20% when mice were treated with Moab A7S8 compared to PBS. Furthermore, anti-oxLDL specific IgM and IgG antibody production increased significantly in the Moab A7S8 treated mice in comparison with PBS treated mice.
Conclusion: Our data show that passive immunization with a natural IgM antibody, directed to HOCl-oxLDL, can reduce atherosclerotic plaque development. We postulate that specific antibody therapy may be developed for use in human cardiovascular diseases.