Anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic intervention strategies using atorvastatin, clopidogrel and knock-down of CD40L do not modify radiation-induced atherosclerosis in ApoE null mice

Saske Hoving, Sylvia Heeneman, Marion J. J. Gijbels, Johannes A. M. te Poele, Jeffrey F. C. Pol, Karen Gabriels, Nicola S. Russell, Mat J. A. P. Daernen, Fiona A. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background and purpose: We previously showed that irradiating the carotid arteries of ApoE(-/-) mice accelerated the development of macrophage-rich, inflammatory and thrombotic atherosclerotic lesions. In this study we investigated the potential of anti-inflammatory (atorvastatin, CD40L knockout) and anti-thrombotic (clopidogrel) intervention strategies to inhibit radiation-induced atherosclerosis. Material and methods: ApoE(-/-) mice were given 0 or 14 Gy to the neck and the carotid arteries were harvested at 4 or 28 weeks after irradiation. Atorvastatin (15 mg/kg/day) or clopidogrel (20 mg/kg/day) was given in the chow; control groups received regular chow. Clopidogrel inhibited platelet aggregation by 50%. CD40L(-/-)/ApoE(-/-) and ApoE(-/-) littermates were also given 0 or 14 Gy to the neck and the carotid arteries were harvested after 30 weeks. Results: Clopidogrel decreased MCP-1 expression in the carotid artery at 4 weeks after irradiation. Expression of VCAM-1, ICAM-1, thrombomodulin, tissue factor and eNOS was unchanged in atorvastatin and clopidogrel-treated mice. Neither drug inhibited either age-related or radiation-induced atherosclerosis. Furthermore, loss of the inflammatory mediator CD40L did not influence the development of age-related and radiation-induced atherosclerosis. Conclusions: The effects of radiation-induced atherosclerosis could not be circumvented by these specific anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant therapies. This suggests that more effective drug combinations may be required to overcome the radiation stimulus, or that other underlying mechanistic pathways are involved compared to age-related atherosclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-108
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • ApoE(-/-) mice
  • Carotid artery
  • Irradiation
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Intervention

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