Farah Kramer

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (11)82.51 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Inflammatory activation of myeloid cells is accompanied by increased glycolysis, which is required for the surge in cytokine production. Although in vitro studies suggest that increased macrophage glucose metabolism is sufficient for cytokine induction, the proinflammatory effects of increased myeloid cell glucose flux in vivo and the impact on atherosclerosis, a major complication of diabetes, are unknown. We therefore tested the hypothesis that increased glucose uptake in myeloid cells stimulates cytokine production and atherosclerosis. Overexpression of the glucose transporter GLUT1 in myeloid cells caused increased glycolysis and flux through the pentose phosphate pathway but did not induce cytokines. Moreover, myeloid-cell-specific overexpression of GLUT1 in LDL receptor-deficient mice was ineffective in promoting atherosclerosis. Thus, increased glucose flux is insufficient for inflammatory myeloid cell activation and atherogenesis. If glucose promotes atherosclerosis by increasing cellular glucose flux, myeloid cells do not appear to be the key targets.
    Cell Reports 04/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic and stearic acid, cause detrimental effects in endothelial cells and have been suggested to contribute to macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue and the vascular wall, in states of obesity and insulin resistance. Long-chain fatty acids are believed to require conversion into acyl-CoA derivatives to exert most of their detrimental effects, a reaction catalyzed by acyl-CoA synthetases (ACSL). The objective of this study was to investigate the role of ACSL1, an ACSL isoform previously shown to mediate inflammatory effects in myeloid cells, in regulating endothelial cell responses to a saturated fatty acid-rich environment in vitro and in vivo. METHODS AND RESULTS: Saturated fatty acids caused increased inflammatory activation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and apoptosis in mouse microvascular endothelial cells. Forced ACSL1 overexpression exacerbated the effects of saturated fatty acids on apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum stress. However, endothelial ACSL1 deficiency did not protect against the effects of saturated fatty acids in vitro, nor did it protect insulin-resistant mice fed a saturated fatty acid-rich diet from macrophage adipose tissue accumulation or increased aortic adhesion molecule expression. CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial ACSL1 is not required for inflammatory and apoptotic effects of a saturated fatty acid-rich environment.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 12/2012; · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms that promote an inflammatory environment and accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetes are poorly understood. We show that macrophages isolated from two different mouse models of type 1 diabetes exhibit an inflammatory phenotype. This inflammatory phenotype associates with increased expression of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSL1), an enzyme that catalyzes the thioesterification of fatty acids. Monocytes from humans and mice with type 1 diabetes also exhibit increased ACSL1. Furthermore, myeloid-selective deletion of ACSL1 protects monocytes and macrophages from the inflammatory effects of diabetes. Strikingly, myeloid-selective deletion of ACSL1 also prevents accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetic mice without affecting lesions in nondiabetic mice. Our observations indicate that ACSL1 plays a critical role by promoting the inflammatory phenotype of macrophages associated with type 1 diabetes; they also raise the possibilities that diabetic atherosclerosis has an etiology that is, at least in part, distinct from the etiology of nondiabetic vascular disease and that this difference is because of increased monocyte and macrophage ACSL1 expression.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2012; 109(12):E715-24. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long-chain acyl-CoA synthetases (ACSLs) catalyze the thioesterification of long-chain FAs into their acyl-CoA derivatives. Purified ACSL4 is an arachidonic acid (20:4)-preferring ACSL isoform, and ACSL4 is therefore a probable regulator of lipid mediator production in intact cells. Eicosanoids play important roles in vascular homeostasis and disease, yet the role of ACSL4 in vascular cells is largely unknown. In the present study, the ACSL4 splice variant expressed in human arterial smooth muscle cells (SMCs) was identified as variant 1. To investigate the function of ACSL4 in SMCs, ACSL4 variant 1 was overexpressed, knocked-down by small interfering RNA, or its enzymatic activity acutely inhibited in these cells. Overexpression of ACSL4 resulted in a markedly increased synthesis of arachidonoyl-CoA, increased 20:4 incorporation into phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, and triacylglycerol, and reduced cellular levels of unesterified 20:4. Accordingly, secretion of prostaglandin E₂ (PGE₂) was blunted in ACSL4-overexpressing SMCs compared with controls. Conversely, acute pharmacological inhibition of ACSL4 activity resulted in increased release of PGE₂. However, long-term downregulation of ACSL4 resulted in markedly reduced PGE₂ secretion. Thus, ACSL4 modulates PGE₂ release from human SMCs. ACSL4 may regulate a number of processes dependent on the release of arachidonic acid-derived lipid mediators in the arterial wall.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 01/2011; 52(4):782-93. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inducible and reversible regulation of gene expression is a powerful approach for uncovering gene function. We have established a general method to efficiently produce reversible and inducible gene knockout and rescue in mice. In this system, which we named iKO, the target gene can be turned on and off at will by treating the mice with doxycycline. This method combines two genetically modified mouse lines: a) a KO line with a tetracycline-dependent transactivator replacing the endogenous target gene, and b) a line with a tetracycline-inducible cDNA of the target gene inserted into a tightly regulated (TIGRE) genomic locus, which provides for low basal expression and high inducibility. Such a locus occurs infrequently in the genome and we have developed a method to easily introduce genes into the TIGRE site of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells by recombinase-mediated insertion. Both KO and TIGRE lines have been engineered for high-throughput, large-scale and cost-effective production of iKO mice. As a proof of concept, we have created iKO mice in the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene, which allows for sensitive and quantitative phenotypic analyses. The results demonstrated reversible switching of ApoE transcription, plasma cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis progression and regression. The iKO system shows stringent regulation and is a versatile genetic system that can easily incorporate other techniques and adapt to a wide range of applications.
    PLoS Genetics 06/2008; 4(5):e1000069. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease, largely because of disruption of atherosclerotic lesions, accounts for the majority of deaths in people with type 1 diabetes. Recent mouse models have provided insights into the accelerated atherosclerotic lesion initiation in diabetes, but it is unknown whether diabetes directly worsens more clinically relevant advanced lesions. We therefore used an LDL receptor-deficient mouse model, in which type 1 diabetes can be induced at will, to investigate the effects of diabetes on preexisting lesions. Advanced lesions were induced by feeding mice a high-fat diet for 16 weeks before induction of diabetes. Diabetes, independently of lesion size, increased intraplaque hemorrhage and plaque disruption in the brachiocephalic artery of mice fed low-fat or high-fat diets for an additional 14 weeks. Hyperglycemia was not sufficient to induce plaque disruption. Furthermore, diabetes resulted in increased accumulation of monocytic cells positive for S100A9, a proinflammatory biomarker for cardiovascular events, and for a macrophage marker protein, without increasing lesion macrophage content. S100A9 immunoreactivity correlated with intraplaque hemorrhage. Aggressive lowering primarily of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins prevented both plaque disruption and the increased S100A9 in diabetic atherosclerotic lesions. Conversely, oleate promoted macrophage differentiation into an S100A9-positive population in vitro, thereby mimicking the effects of diabetes. Thus, diabetes increases plaque disruption, independently of effects on plaque initiation, through a mechanism that requires triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and is associated with an increased accumulation of S100A9-positive monocytic cells. These findings indicate an important link between diabetes, plaque disruption, and the innate immune system.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(6):2082-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and LDL plasma levels are associated with cardiovascular mortality. Whereas VLDL/LDL lowering causes regression of early atherosclerotic lesions, less is known about the effects of aggressive lipid lowering on regression of advanced complex lesions. We therefore investigated the effect of VLDL/LDL lowering on pre-existing lesions in LDL receptor-deficient mice. Mice fed a high-fat diet for 16 weeks developed advanced lesions with fibrous caps, necrotic cores, and cholesterol clefts in the brachiocephalic artery. After an additional 14 weeks on a low-fat diet, plasma cholesterol levels decreased from 21.0 +/- 2.6 to 8.4 +/- 0.6 mmol/L, but lesions did not regress. Levels of VLDL/LDL were further lowered by using a helper-dependent adenovirus encoding the VLDL receptor (HD-Ad-VLDLR) under control of a liver-selective promoter. Treatment with HD-Ad-VLDLR together with a low-fat diet regimen resulted in reduced lesion size (cross-sectional area decreased from 146,272 +/- 19,359 to 91,557 +/- 15,738 microm2) and an 89% reduction in the cross-sectional lesion area occupied by macrophages compared to controls. These results show that aggressive VLDL/LDL lowering achieved by hepatic overexpression of VLDLR combined with a low-fat diet regimen induces regression of advanced plaques in the brachiocephalic artery of LDL receptor-deficient mice.
    American Journal Of Pathology 07/2006; 168(6):2064-73. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia are important risk factors for diabetes-accelerated atherosclerosis. Macrophage proliferation has been implicated in the progression of atherosclerosis. We therefore investigated the effects of hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia on macrophage proliferation in murine atherosclerotic lesions and isolated primary macrophages. Hyperglycemic LDL receptor-deficient mice that were fed a cholesterol-free diet for 12 weeks did not have elevated cholesterol levels compared with nondiabetic mice, and there was no evidence of increased macrophage proliferation in atherosclerotic lesions. Moreover, elevated glucose levels did not increase proliferation of isolated mouse peritoneal macrophages. In contrast, hyperglycemic LDL receptor-deficient mice that were fed a cholesterol-rich diet showed increased cholesterol levels concomitant with macrophage proliferation in atherosclerotic lesions. Glucose promoted lipid and protein oxidation of LDL in vitro. Glucose-oxidized LDL resulted in phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and protein kinase B/Akt and stimulated proliferation of isolated macrophages. The mitogenic effect of glucose-oxidized LDL was mediated by CD36 and by extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation induced by protein kinase C-dependent and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent pathways. Thus, hyperglycemia is not sufficient to stimulate macrophage proliferation in lesions of atherosclerosis or in isolated macrophages. A combination of hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, however, stimulates macrophage proliferation by a pathway that may involve the glucose-dependent oxidation of LDL.
    Diabetes 01/2005; 53(12):3217-25. · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes in humans accelerates cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis. The relative contributions of hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia to atherosclerosis in patients with diabetes are not clear, largely because there is a lack of suitable animal models. We therefore have developed a transgenic mouse model that closely mimics atherosclerosis in humans with type 1 diabetes by breeding low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice with transgenic mice in which type 1 diabetes can be induced at will. These mice express a viral protein under control of the insulin promoter and, when infected by the virus, develop an autoimmune attack on the insulin-producing beta cells and subsequently develop type 1 diabetes. When these mice are fed a cholesterol-free diet, diabetes, in the absence of associated lipid abnormalities, causes both accelerated lesion initiation and increased arterial macrophage accumulation. When diabetic mice are fed cholesterol-rich diets, on the other hand, they develop severe hypertriglyceridemia and advanced lesions, characterized by extensive intralesional hemorrhage. This progression to advanced lesions is largely dependent on diabetes-induced dyslipidemia, because hyperlipidemic diabetic and nondiabetic mice with similar plasma cholesterol levels show a similar extent of atherosclerosis. Thus, diabetes and diabetes-associated lipid abnormalities have distinct effects on initiation and progression of atherosclerotic lesions.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/2004; 114(5):659-68. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes accelerates cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis. Accordingly, diabetes accelerates atherosclerotic lesion progression and increases arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation. We hypothesized that diabetes can exert growth-promoting effects on smooth muscle cells via increased advanced glycation end-products or by dyslipidaemia. Primary human arterial smooth muscle cells were stimulated with advanced glycation end-products, other ligands of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products or fatty acids common in triglycerides. Cell proliferation was measured as DNA synthesis, cell cycle distribution and cell number. Effects of oleate on cellular phospholipids, diacylglycerol, triglycerides and cholesterol esters were analyzed by thin-layer chromatography, and oleate accumulation into diacylglycerol was confirmed by gas chromatography. Human arterial smooth muscle cells express the receptor for advanced glycation end-products, but its ligands N(epsilon)-(carboxymethyl)lysine-modified proteins, methylglyoxal-modified proteins, S100B polypeptide and amyloid-beta (1-40) peptide, exert no mitogenic action. Instead, oleate, one of the most common fatty acids in triglycerides, enhances platelet-derived growth factor-BB-mediated proliferation and oleate-containing 1,2-diacylglycerol formation in smooth muscle cells. This mitogenic effect of oleate depends on phospholipase D activity and is associated with an increased formation of oleate-enriched 1,2-diacylglycerol. Oleate, not ligands of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products, acts as an enhancer of human smooth muscle cell proliferation. Thus, lipid abnormalities, rather than hyperglycaemia, could be a major factor promoting proliferation of smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic lesions.
    Diabetologia 01/2004; 46(12):1676-87. · 6.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes causes accelerated atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease through mechanisms that are poorly understood. We have previously shown, using a porcine model of diabetes-accelerated atherosclerosis, that diabetes leads to an increased accumulation and proliferation of arterial smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic lesions and that this is associated with elevated levels of plasma triglycerides. We therefore used the same model to investigate the mechanism whereby diabetes may stimulate smooth muscle cell proliferation. We show that lesions from diabetic pigs fed a cholesterol-rich diet contain abundant insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), in contrast to lesions from non-diabetic pigs. Furthermore, two fatty acids common in triglycerides, oleate and linoleate, enhance the growth-promoting effects of IGF-I in smooth muscle cells isolated from these animals. These fatty acids accumulate predominantly in the membrane phospholipid pool; oleate accumulates preferentially in phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, whereas linoleate is found mainly in phosphatidylethanolamine. The growth-promoting effects of oleate and linoleate depend on phospholipid hydrolysis by phospholipase D and subsequent generation of diacylglycerol. Thus, concurrent increases in levels of IGF-I and triglyceride-derived oleate and linoleate in lesions may contribute to accumulation and proliferation of smooth muscle cells and lesion progression in diabetes-accelerated atherosclerosis.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2002; 277(39):36338-44. · 4.65 Impact Factor