Macrophage-to-endothelial cell crosstalk by the cholesterol metabolite 27HC promotes atherosclerosis in male mice

Liming Yu, Lin Xu, Haiyan Chu, Jun Peng, Anastasia Sacharidou, Hsi hsien Hsieh, Ada Weinstock, Sohaib Khan, Liqian Ma, José Gabriel Barcia Durán, Jeffrey McDonald, Erik R. Nelson, Sunghee Park, Donald P. McDonnell, Kathryn J. Moore, Lily Jun shen Huang, Edward A. Fisher, Chieko Mineo, Linzhang Huang, Philip W. Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypercholesterolemia and vascular inflammation are key interconnected contributors to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. How hypercholesterolemia initiates vascular inflammation is poorly understood. Here we show in male mice that hypercholesterolemia-driven endothelial activation, monocyte recruitment and atherosclerotic lesion formation are promoted by a crosstalk between macrophages and endothelial cells mediated by the cholesterol metabolite 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC). The pro-atherogenic actions of macrophage-derived 27HC require endothelial estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and disassociation of the cytoplasmic scaffolding protein septin 11 from ERα, leading to extranuclear ERα- and septin 11-dependent activation of NF-κB. Furthermore, pharmacologic inhibition of cyp27a1, which generates 27HC, affords atheroprotection by reducing endothelial activation and monocyte recruitment. These findings demonstrate cell-to-cell communication by 27HC, and identify a major causal linkage between the hypercholesterolemia and vascular inflammation that partner to promote atherosclerosis. Interventions interrupting this linkage may provide the means to blunt vascular inflammation without impairing host defense to combat the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease that remains despite lipid-lowering therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4101
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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