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Distribution of oxidation specific lipid-protein adducts and apolipoprotein B in atherosclerotic lesions of varying severity from WHHL rabbits.

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Antisera and monoclonal antibodies generated against autologous malondialdehyde-conjugated low density lipoprotein (MDA-LDL), 4-hydroxynonenal conjugated LDL (4-HNE-LDL), and the protein fragments of apoprotein B resulting from the copper oxidation of LDL, as well as antibodies against apoprotein B, were used to immunostain atherosclerotic lesions of varying severity from Watanabe heritable hyperlipemic rabbits. In macrophage-rich fatty streaks and transitional lesions, all of the antibodies recognizing oxidation specific epitopes exhibited predominantly cell-associated staining in particulate and annular patterns. This is in contrast to the limited, extracellular, diffuse staining obtained with the antibodies recognizing apoprotein B. In more advanced lesions containing areas with reduced numbers of cells, there was increased extracellular, diffuse staining with the antibodies against oxidation specific epitopes and co-localization with apoprotein B. In addition, there were annular staining patterns associated with the necrotic core and increased staining of intimal and medial smooth muscle cells. We interpret these data as suggesting that in areas of lesions rich in macrophages, LDL is oxidized and taken up by the cells. In more advanced lesions that are relatively devoid of macrophages, both native and oxidized LDL, as well as oxidation products released from dead and decaying cells, are trapped in the matrix, out of reach of those cells capable of accumulating oxidized LDL.

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