BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
Serum amyloid A (SAA) predicts cardiovascular events. Overexpression of SAA increases atherosclerosis development; however, deficiency of two of the murine acute phase isoforms, SAA1.1 and SAA2.1, has no effect on atherosclerosis. SAA3 is a pseudogene in humans, but is an expressed acute phase isoform in mice. The goal of this study was to determine if SAA3 affects atherosclerosis in mice.
ApoE-/- mice were used as the model for all studies. SAA3 was overexpressed by an adeno-associated virus or suppressed using an anti-sense oligonucleotide approach.
Over-expression of SAA3 led to a 4-fold increase in atherosclerosis lesion area compared to control mice (p = 0.01). Suppression of SAA3 decreased atherosclerosis in mice genetically deficient in SAA1.1 and SAA2.1 (p < 0.0001).
SAA3 augments atherosclerosis in mice. Our results resolve a previous paradox in the literature and support extensive epidemiological data that SAA is pro-atherogenic.