Myeloid Cell PKM2 Deletion Enhances Efferocytosis and Reduces Atherosclerosis

Article: Myeloid Cell PKM2 Deletion Enhances Efferocytosis and Reduces Atherosclerosis

Authors: Prakash Doddapattar, Rishabh Dev, Madankumar Ghatge, Rakesh B Patel, Manish Jain, Nirav Dhanesha, Steven R Lentz, Anil K Chauhan

Journal: Circ Res. 2022 Apr 29;130(9):1289-1305

Background: The glycolytic enzyme PKM2 (pyruvate kinase muscle 2) is upregulated in monocytes/macrophages of patients with atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. However, the role of cell type-specific PKM2 in the setting of atherosclerosis remains to be defined. We determined whether myeloid cell-specific PKM2 regulates efferocytosis and atherosclerosis.

Methods: We generated myeloid cell-specific PKM2-/- mice on Ldlr (low-density lipoprotein receptor)-deficient background (PKM2mye-KOLdlr-/-). Controls were littermate PKM2WTLdlr-/- mice. Susceptibility to atherosclerosis was evaluated in whole aortae and cross sections of the aortic sinus in male and female mice fed a high-fat Western diet for 14 weeks, starting at 8 weeks.

Results: PKM2 was upregulated in macrophages of Ldlr-/- mice fed a high-fat Western diet compared with chow diet. Myeloid cell-specific deletion of PKM2 led to a significant reduction in lesions in the whole aorta and aortic sinus despite high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, we found decreased macrophage content in the lesions of myeloid cell-specific PKM2-/- mice associated with decreased MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein 1) levels in plasma, reduced transmigration of macrophages in response to MCP-1, and impaired glycolytic rate. Macrophages isolated from myeloid-specific PKM2-/- mice fed the Western diet exhibited reduced expression of proinflammatory genes, including MCP-1, IL (interleukin)-1β, and IL-12. Myeloid cell-specific PKM2-/- mice exhibited reduced apoptosis concomitant with enhanced macrophage efferocytosis and upregulation of LRP (LDLR-related protein)-1 in macrophages in vitro and atherosclerotic lesions in vivo. Silencing LRP-1 in PKM2-deficient macrophages restored inflammatory gene expression and reduced efferocytosis. As a therapeutic intervention, inhibiting PKM2 nuclear translocation using a small molecule reduced glycolytic rate, enhanced efferocytosis, and reduced atherosclerosis in Ldlr-/- mice.

Conclusions: Genetic deletion of PKM2 in myeloid cells or limiting its nuclear translocation reduces atherosclerosis by suppressing inflammation and enhancing efferocytosis.

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