Treatment with sulphated galactan inhibits macrophage chemotaxis and reduces intraplaque macrophage content in atherosclerotic mice
Experimental data from animal models and clinical studies support connections between the haemostasis and inflammation in atherogenesis. These interfaces among inflammation and thrombogenesis have been suggested as targets for pharmacological intervention to reduce disease progression. We hypothesize that the recently discovered antithrombotic drug Sulphated Galactan (SG) (isolated from the red marine alga Acanthophora muscoides) might reduce atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability and inflammatory gene expression in 10-week aged apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE-/-) mice under high-cholesterol diet for additional 11 weeks. Then, the underlying cellular mechanisms were investigated in vitro. SG (10 mg/kg) or Vehicle was subcutaneously injected from week 6 until week 11 of the diet. Treatment with SG reduced intraplaque macrophage and Tissue Factor (TF) content as compared to Vehicle-treated animals. Intraplaque TF co-localized and positively correlated with macrophage rich-areas. No changes on atherosclerotic plaque size, and other intraplaque features of vulnerability (such as lipid, neutrophil, MMP-9 and collagen contents) were observed. Moreover, mRNA expression of MMPs, chemokines and genetic markers of Th1/2/reg/17 lymphocyte polarization within mouse aortic arches and spleens was not affected by SG treatment. In vitro, treatment with SG dose-dependently reduced macrophage chemotaxis without affecting TF production. Overall, the chronic SG treatment was well tolerated. In conclusion, our results indicate that SG treatment reduced intraplaque macrophage content (by impacting on cell recruitment) and, concomitantly, intraplaque TF content of potential macrophage origin in atherosclerotic mice. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.