Kamilah Ali, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Basic Science
Course Director, Pharmacology
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
Title: “The Forgotten One: ApoD, Lipoprotein Oxidation and Atherosclerosis”
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The pathogenesis of CAD is complex and is due to the development of plaque, the accumulation of cholesterol in macrophages, in blood vessels that can cause thrombosis, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Some of the key players or steps in accumulation of cholesterol are the levels of plasma lipoproteins, oxidative capacity of LDL-cholesterol, and the inflammatory state of macrophages. Apolipoproteins (apos) are major determinants in regulating human plasma lipoprotein levels, thus affecting plaque formation (atherogenesis) in blood vessels. Our protein of interest, ApoD, is associated with plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), and is ubiquitously expressed in tissues and present in cell types (endothelial cells (EC), vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), macrophages) involved in plaque formation. However, we have a poor understanding of the role(s) and mechanism(s) of apoD in plaque development. We use in vivo animal models on a Western diet, lipid biochemistry and cell culture to address our hypothesis. Our preliminary data suggest that apoD is anti-atherogenic whose effects may be mediated by modulating LDL oxidation and/or downstream activation of macrophage- vascular smooth muscle cells signaling pathways.