A critical role for ABC transporters in persistent lung inflammation in the development of emphysema after smoke exposure

FASEB J. 2018 Jun 15;32(12):fj201701381. doi: 10.1096/fj.201701381. Online ahead of print.


Macrophage infiltration is common to both emphysema and atherosclerosis, and cigarette smoke down-regulates the macrophage cholesterol efflux transporter ATP binding cassette (ABC)A1. This decreased cholesterol efflux results in lipid-laden macrophages. We hypothesize that cigarette smoke adversely affects cholesterol transport via an ABCA1-dependent mechanism in macrophages, enhancing TLR4/myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (Myd88) signaling and resulting in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) up-regulation and exacerbation of pulmonary inflammation. ABCA1 is significantly down-regulated in the lung upon smoke exposure conditions. Macrophages exposed to cigarette smoke in vivo and in vitro exhibit impaired cholesterol efflux correlating with significantly decreased ABCA1 expression, up-regulation of the TLR4/Myd88 pathway, and downstream MMP-9 and MMP-13 expression. Treatment with liver X receptor (LXR) agonist restores ABCA1 expression after short-term smoke exposure and attenuates the inflammatory response; after long-term smoke exposure, there is also attenuated physiologic and morphologic changes of emphysema. In vitro, treatment with LXR agonist decreases macrophage inflammatory activation in wild-type but not ABCA1 knockout mice, suggesting an ABCA1-dependent mechanism of action. These studies demonstrate an important association between cigarette smoke exposure and cholesterol-mediated pathways in the macrophage inflammatory response. Modulation of these pathways through manipulation of ABCA1 activity effectively blocks cigarette smoke-induced inflammation and provides a potential novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.-Sonett, J., Goldklang, M., Sklepkiewicz, P., Gerber, A., Trischler, J., Zelonina, T., Westerterp, M., Lemaître, V., Okada, V., D'Armiento, J. A critical role for ABC transporters in persistent lung inflammation in the development of emphysema after smoke exposure.

Keywords: COPD; LXR agonist; cholesterol efflux; lipid transporters; macrophage.