Accumulation and expression of serum amyloid P component in human atherosclerotic lesions

Zhiqing Song, Lei Cai, Ling Guo, Yoshitane Tsukamoto, Chikao Yutani, Xiang An Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Serum amyloid P component (SAP) is a member of pentraxins. Previous studies indicate that SAP exists in human atherosclerotic aortic intima and the plasma SAP levels are associated with cardiovascular disease. In this study, we characterized SAP in normal and atherosclerotic intima, investigated the source of SAP in atherosclerotic lesions, and assessed the effect of SAP on HDL function. Immunohistochemical staining and electroimmunoassay indicated that SAP is not present in normal aortic intima which excludes the possibility that SAP non-specifically deposits in aortic intima via its binding to microfibrils. Notably, SAP levels are correlated with the severity of atherosclerotic lesions. Fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) and Western blot analysis revealed that SAP exists in atherosclerotic lesions in multiple forms. Soluble SAP accumulates in the lesions as decamer in free or bound forms via ligand-binding to its ligand(s). Insoluble SAP accumulates in the lesions in covalent-bound forms conjugated to collagen/collagen-like substances via disulfide (-S-S-) bonds. In situ hybridization and RT-PCR analysis revealed that SAP is generated in atherosclerotic lesions, at least partly, by macrophages and smooth muscle cells in neointima. Functional analysis demonstrated that SAP associated with HDL promotes SR-BI-dependent cholesterol efflux and lipid-free SAP enhances ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that SAP is specifically accumulated and expressed in atherosclerotic lesions. SAP may be involved in cholesterol clearance through its role in promoting cholesterol efflux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the members of the Kentucky Pediatric Research Institute for invaluable advice and assistance. This work was supported by grants from American Heart Association ( 0530241N ), NIH ( R01GM085231 and 3R01GM085231-02S1 ) and Children's Miracle Network .


  • ABCA1
  • Amyloid P component
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol efflux
  • HDL
  • Pentraxin
  • Scavenger receptor BI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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