Increasing evidence suggests that oxidative DNA damage accumulates in atherosclerosis. Recently, we showed that a genetic variant in the human DNA repair enzyme NEIL3 was associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction. Here, we explored the role of Neil3/NEIL3 in atherogenesis by both clinical and experimental approaches. Human carotid plaques revealed increased NEIL3 mRNA expression which significantly correlated with mRNA levels of the macrophage marker CD68. Apoe-/- Neil3-/- mice on high-fat diet showed accelerated plaque formation as compared to Apoe-/- mice, reflecting an atherogenic lipid profile, increased hepatic triglyceride levels and attenuated macrophage cholesterol efflux capacity. Apoe-/- Neil3-/- mice showed marked alterations in several pathways affecting hepatic lipid metabolism, but no genotypic alterations in genome integrity or genome-wide accumulation of oxidative DNA damage. These results suggest a novel role for the DNA glycosylase Neil3 in atherogenesis in balancing lipid metabolism and macrophage function, potentially independently of genome-wide canonical base excision repair of oxidative DNA damage.
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- Base excision repair
- Cardiovascular biology
- Cardiovascular diseases