Na+-H+ exchanger 1 determines atherosclerotic lesion acidification and promotes atherogenesis

Cong Lin Liu, Xian Zhang, Jing Liu, Yunzhe Wang, Galina K. Sukhova, Gregory R. Wojtkiewicz, Tianxiao Liu, Rui Tang, Samuel Achilefu, Matthias Nahrendorf, Peter Libby, Junli Guo, Jin Ying Zhang, Guo Ping Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The pH in atherosclerotic lesions varies between individuals. IgE activates macrophage Na+-H+ exchanger (Nhe1) and induces extracellular acidification and cell apoptosis. Here, we show that the pH-sensitive pHrodo probe localizes the acidic regions in atherosclerotic lesions to macrophages, IgE, and cell apoptosis. In Apoe–/– mice, Nhe1-deficiency or anti-IgE antibody reduces atherosclerosis and blocks lesion acidification. Reduced atherosclerosis in Apoe–/– mice receiving bone marrow from Nhe1- or IgE receptor FcεR1-deficient mice, blunted foam cell formation and signaling in IgE-activated macrophages from Nhe1-deficient mice, immunocomplex formation of Nhe1 and FcεR1 in IgE-activated macrophages, and Nhe1-FcεR1 colocalization in atherosclerotic lesion macrophages support a role of IgE-mediated macrophage Nhe1 activation in atherosclerosis. Intravenous administration of a near-infrared fluorescent pH-sensitive probe LS662, followed by coregistered fluorescent molecular tomography-computed tomography imaging, identifies acidic regions in atherosclerotic lesions in live mice, ushering a non-invasive and radiation-free imaging approach to monitor atherosclerotic lesions in live subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3978
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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