Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase inhibition reduces intraplaque CXCL1 production and associated neutrophil infiltration in atherosclerotic mice
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 phosphoribosyltransferase (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-kappa B 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.