Despite advances in lipid-lowering therapies, people with diabetes continue to experience more limited cardiovascular benefits. In diabetes, hyperglycemia sustains inflammation and preempts vascular repair. We tested the hypothesis that the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) contributes to these maladaptive processes. We report that transplantation of aortic arches from diabetic, Western diet–fed Ldlr—/— mice into diabetic Ager—/— (Ager, the gene encoding RAGE) versus WT diabetic recipient mice accelerated regression of atherosclerosis. RNA-sequencing experiments traced RAGE-dependent mechanisms principally to the recipient macrophages and linked RAGE to interferon signaling. Specifically, deletion of Ager in the regressing diabetic plaques downregulated interferon regulatory factor 7 (Irf7) in macrophages. Immunohistochemistry studies colocalized IRF7 and macrophages in both murine and human atherosclerotic plaques. In bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMDMs), RAGE ligands upregulated expression of Irf7, and in BMDMs immersed in a cholesterol-rich environment, knockdown of Irf7 triggered a switch from pro- to antiinflammatory gene expression and regulated a host of genes linked to cholesterol efflux and homeostasis. Collectively, this work adds a new dimension to the immunometabolic sphere of perturbations that impair regression of established diabetic atherosclerosis and suggests that targeting RAGE and IRF7 may facilitate vascular repair in diabetes.
Laura Senatus, Raquel López-Díez, Lander Egaña-Gorroño, Jianhua Liu, Jiyuan Hu, Gurdip Daffu, Qing Li, Karishma Rahman, Yuliya Vengrenyuk, Tessa J. Barrett, M. Zahidunnabi Dewan, Liang Guo, Daniela Fuller, Aloke V. Finn, Renu Virmani, Huilin Li, Richard A. Friedman, Edward A. Fisher, Ravichandran Ramasamy, Ann Marie Schmidt