Animal models provide vital tools to explicate the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Accordingly, we established two atherosclerosis-prone mice models: (i) mice lacking the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) receptor (LDLR) and the ability to edit apo (apolipoprotein) B mRNA (Apobec1; designated LDb: LDLR-/-Apobec1-/-), and (ii) mice with the LDb background, who also overexpressed human apoB100 (designated LTp: LDLR-/-Apobec1-/-ERhB+/+). Both LDb and LTp mice had markedly elevated levels of LDL and increased levels of NEFAs (non-esterified fatty acids) compared with C57BL/6 wild-type mice. However, fasting glucose and insulin levels in both animals were not different than those in C57BL/6 wild-type mice. It has been suggested that PAF-AH (platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase) increases susceptibility to vascular disease. Both LDb and LTp mice had significantly higher PAF-AH mRNA levels compared with C57BL/6 wild-type mice. PAF-AH gene expression was also significantly influenced by age and sex. Interestingly, PAF-AH mRNA levels were significantly higher in both LTp male and female mice than in the LDb mice. This increased PAF-AH gene expression was associated with elevated plasma PAF-AH enzyme activities (LTp>LDb>C57BL/6). Moreover, a greater proportion of PAF-AH activity was associated with the apoB-containing lipoproteins: 29% in LTp and 13% in LDb mice compared with C57BL/6 wild-type animals (6.7%). This may explain why LTp mice developed more atherosclerotic lesions than LDb mice by 8 months of age. In summary, increased plasma NEFAs, PAF-AH mRNA and enzyme activities are associated with accelerated atherogenesis in these animal models.

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