A mouse model of human familial hypercholesterolemia: markedly elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and severe atherosclerosis on a low-fat chow diet

Nat Med. 1998 Aug;4(8):934-8. doi: 10.1038/nm0898-934.


Mutations in the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene cause familial hypercholesterolemia, a human disease characterized by premature atherosclerosis and markedly elevated plasma levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein (apo) B100. In contrast, mice deficient for the LDL receptor (Ldlr-/-) have only mildly elevated LDL cholesterol levels and little atherosclerosis. This difference results from extensive editing of the hepatic apoB mRNA in the mouse, which limits apoB100 synthesis in favor of apoB48 synthesis. We have generated Ldlr-/- mice that cannot edit the apoB mRNA and therefore synthesize exclusively apoB100. These mice had markedly elevated LDL cholesterol and apoB100 levels and developed extensive atherosclerosis on a chow diet. This authentic model of human familial hypercholesterolemia will provide a new tool for studying atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / pathology
  • Apolipoproteins B / biosynthesis*
  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Apolipoproteins B / deficiency*
  • Arteriosclerosis / blood*
  • Arteriosclerosis / genetics
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / blood*
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / genetics*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • RNA Editing
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, LDL / deficiency*
  • Receptors, LDL / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol