Mechanisms that govern transcriptional regulation of inflammation in atherosclerosis remain largely unknown. Here, we identify the nuclear transcription factor c-Myb as an important mediator of atherosclerotic disease in mice. Atherosclerosis-prone animals fed a diet high in cholesterol exhibit increased levels of c-Myb in the bone marrow. Use of mice that either harbor a c-Myb hypomorphic allele or where c-Myb has been preferentially deleted in B cell lineages revealed that c-Myb potentiates atherosclerosis directly through its effects on B lymphocytes. Reduced c-Myb activity prevents the expansion of atherogenic B2 cells yet associates with increased numbers of IgM-producing antibody-secreting cells (IgM-ASCs) and elevated levels of atheroprotective oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL)-specific IgM antibodies. Transcriptional profiling revealed that c-Myb has a limited effect on B cell function but is integral in maintaining B cell progenitor populations in the bone marrow. Thus, targeted disruption of c-Myb beneficially modulates the complex biology of B cells in cardiovascular disease.
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