Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Suzanne Barbour


Platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAFAH) is elevated in atherosclerosis and may play a role in pathogenesis of this disease. Molecular mechanisms regulating the expression of this lipoprotein-associated PLA2 are indistinct. Mildy oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL) and monocytes (the primary source of PAFAH) are co-localized in early atheromas. Monocytes are activated by oxidized phospholipids (oxPL) in the oxLDL particle. We hypothesized that oxPL-activated monocytes are the source of increased levels of PAFAH in atherosclerosis. We found that PAFAH expression is significantly induced by OxPAPC and in particular long-chain fractions of oxPAPC in monocytes and cytokine-differentiated DC, but not cytokine-differentiated MO. Furthermore, spontaneously differentiated MO and DC from monocytes of non-periodontitis and aggressive periodontitis subjects, oxPAPC induced PAFAH in DC alone. 1-palmitoyl-2-epoxyisoprostane-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PEIPC) is a particularly bioactive component of long-chain oxPAPC fractions that binds the prostaglandin receptor subtypes DP1 and EP2. We revealed using selective agonists and antagonists of these receptors that DP1 and EP2 are required for the induction of PAFAH expression. OxPAPC stimulates IL-6 release from monocytes and this cytokine is required for oxPAPC-induced PAFAH expression. We next tested the hypothesis that oxPAPC did not induce PAFAH in MO because a key component of the signaling machinery was lacking. Flow cytometric and immunoblot analyses demonstrated that MO express very low levels of IL-6 receptor in comparison to DC and monocytes. Based on these observations, we propose that long-chain oxPL induce PAFAH expression by binding DP1 and/or EP2 and stimulating IL-6 production. These data strongly support the hypothesis that oxLDL-activated DC are the source of high PAFAH levels in atherosclerosis. Platelet activating factor (PAF) is the inflammatory phospholipids for which PAFAH is named. PAF has been shown by other investigators to induce the expression of PAFAH. In our physiologically relevant monocytes, PAF suppresses PAFAH transcription and expression. 1-palmitoyl-2-(5-oxovaleroyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (POVPC) is a short-chain oxPL that signals through the PAF receptor. Our preliminary data suggest that like PAF, POVPC suppresses PAFAH expression in monocytes. Further investigation into the effects of the short-chain oxPL are warranted. Our data support the hypothesies that oxPL-activated DC are the source of high PAFAH levels in atherosclerosis.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2009