Loss of LCAT activity in the golden Syrian hamster elicits pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia and enhanced atherosclerosis

Zhao Dong, Haozhe Shi, Mingming Zhao, Xin Zhang, Wei Huang, Yuhui Wang, Lemin Zheng, Xunde Xian, George Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) plays a pivotal role in HDL metabolism but its influence on atherosclerosis remains controversial for decades both in animal and clinical studies. Because lack of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a major difference between murine and humans in lipoprotein metabolism, we aimed to create a novel Syrian Golden hamster model deficient in LCAT activity, which expresses endogenous CETP, to explore its metabolic features and particularly the influence of LCAT on the development of atherosclerosis. Methods: CRISPIR/CAS9 gene editing system was employed to generate mutant LCAT hamsters. The characteristics of lipid metabolism and the development of atherosclerosis in the mutant hamsters were investigated using various conventional methods in comparison with wild type control animals. Results: Hamsters lacking LCAT activity exhibited pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia as diminished high density lipoprotein (HDL) and ApoAI, hypertriglyceridemia, Chylomicron/VLDL accumulation and significantly increased ApoB100/48. Mechanistic study for hypertriglyceridemia revealed impaired LPL-mediated lipolysis and increased very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) secretion, with upregulation of hepatic genes involved in lipid synthesis and transport. The pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia in mutant hamsters was exacerbated after high fat diet feeding, ultimately leading to near a 3- and 5-fold increase in atherosclerotic lesions by aortic en face and sinus lesion quantitation, respectively. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that LCAT deficiency in hamsters develops pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia and promotes atherosclerotic lesion formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalMetabolism: clinical and experimental
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Atherosclerosis
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • LCAT
  • Syrian golden hamster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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