Background: Oleacein is a secoiridoid group polyphenol found mostly in Olea europea
L. and Ligustrum vulgare
L. (Oleaceae). The aim of the present study was to investigate a potential role of oleacein in prevention of the foam cell formation. Materials and Methods: Oleacein was isolated from Ligustrum vulgare
leaves. Human monocyte-derived macrophages were obtained from monocytes cultured with Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Then, cells were incubated with 20 μM or 50 μM of oleacein and with oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) (50 μg/mL). Visualization of lipid deposition within macrophages was carried out using Oil-Red-O. Expression of CD36, Scavenger receptor A1 (SRA1) and Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor 1 (LOX-1) was determined by Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by flow cytometry. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry using Annexin V assay. STAT3 and Acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase type 1 (ACAT1) levels were determined by ELISA. P-STAT3, P-JAK1, P-JAK2 expressions were determined by Western blot (WB). Results: Oleacein in dose-dependent manner significantly reduced lipid deposits in macrophages as well as their expression of selected scavenger receptors. The highest decrease of expression was found for CD36 and SRA1 receptors, from above 20% to more than 75% compared to oxLDL and the lowest for LOX-1 receptor, from approx. 8% to approx. 25% compared to oxLDL-stimulated macrophages. Oleacein significantly reduced (2.5-fold) early apoptosis of oxLDL-stimulated macrophages. Moreover, oleacein significantly increased the protein expression of JAK/STAT3 pathway and had no effect on ACAT1 level. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates, for the first time, that oleacein inhibits foam cell formation in human monocyte-derived macrophages and thus can be a valuable tool in the prevention of early and advanced atherosclerotic lesions.
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