Pharmacological treatments targeting CXC chemokines and the associated neutrophil activation and recruitment into atherosclerotic plaques hold promise for treating cardiovascular disorders. Therefore, we investigated whether FK866, a nicotinamide phosphoribosyltrans-ferase (NAMPT) inhibitor with anti-inflammatory properties that we recently found to reduce neutrophil recruitment into the ischaemic myocardium, would exert beneficial effects in a mouse atherosclerosis model. Atherosclerotic plaque formation was induced by carotid cast implantation in ApoE-/- mice that were fed with a Western-type diet. FK866 or vehicle were administrated intraperitoneally from week 8 until week 11 of the diet. Treatment with FK866 reduced neutrophil infiltration and MMP-9 content and increased collagen levels in atherosclerotic plaques compared to vehicle. No effect on other histological parameters, including intraplaque lipids or macrophages, was observed. These findings were associated with a reduction in both systemic and intraplaque CXCL1 levels in FK866-treated mice. In vitro, FK866 did not affect MMP-9 release by neutrophils, but it strongly reduced CXCL1 production by endothelial cells which, in the in vivo model, were identified as a main CXCL1 source at the plaque level. CXCL1 synthesis inhibition by FK866 appears to reflect interference with nuclear factor-KB signalling as shown by reduced p65 nuclear levels in endothelial cells pre-treated with FK866. In conclusion, pharmacological inhibition of NAMPT activity mitigates inflammation in atherosclerotic plaques by reducing CXCL1-mediated activities on neutrophils. These results support further assessments of NAMPT inhibitors for the potential prevention of plaque vulnerability.
- Carotid artery
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