Atherosclerosis in Marek's disease virus infected hypercholesterolemic roosters is reduced by HMGCoA reductase and ACE inhibitor therapy

Alexandra Lucas, Erbin Dai, Li Ying Liu, Patric N. Nation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: Accelerated atherosclerosis is associated with herpesviral infection both in transplant patients and after balloon angioplasty. Marek's disease virus (MDV) is a herpesvirus that induces accelerated atherosclerosis associated with the development of an invasive lymphoma in hyperlipemic roosters. We have examined the effects of pravastatin, a 3- hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMGCoA) reductase inhibitor and quinapril, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, on atherosclerosis development a MDV infected, cholesterol fed rooster chicks. Methods: The effects of these drugs on plaque growth after MDV infection were examined in two studies. In Study 1, MDV infected White Leghorn rooster chicks were divided into 4 groups assigned to normal or high cholesterol diet, and treated at three months of age with either pravastatin or saline. In Study 2, cholesterol fed rooster chicks infected with MDV were divided into 3 groups for treatment with either pravastatin, quinapril, or saline control. Results: A significant decrease in plaque area was detected after 60 days of treatment with both pravastatin and quinapril in cholesterol fed chicks (P < 0.001). Lymphocyte infiltration into the arterial wall or target organs was not inhibited by treatment with either drug. Conclusions: (1) HMGCoA reductase inhibitor and ACE inhibitor therapy reduce atherosclerosis induced by virus infection and cholesterol diet, but this decrease in plaque growth in not due to a reduction in lymphocyte invasion. (2) MDV infection in cholesterol fed roosters provides a model for virus-induced arterial injury in atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor
  • Atherosclerosis
  • HMGCoA reductase inhibitor
  • Lymphocyte
  • Marek's disease virus
  • White Leghorn roosters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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