Insulin-like growth factor 1 reduces coronary atherosclerosis in pigs with familial hypercholesterolemia

Sergiy Sukhanov, Yusuke Higashi, Tadashi Yoshida, Svitlana Danchuk, Mitzi Alfortish, Traci Goodchild, Amy Scarborough, Thomas Sharp, James S. Jenkins, Daniel Garcia, Jan Ivey, Darla L. Tharp, Jeffrey Schumacher, Zach Rozenbaum, Jay K. Kolls, Douglas Bowles, David Lefer, Patrice Delafontaine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although murine models of coronary atherosclerotic disease have been used extensively to determine mechanisms, limited new therapeutic options have emerged. Pigs with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH pigs) develop complex coronary atheromas that are almost identical to human lesions. We reported previously that insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) reduced aortic atherosclerosis and promoted features of stable plaque in a murine model. We administered human recombinant IGF-1 or saline (control) in atherosclerotic FH pigs for 6 months. IGF-1 decreased relative coronary atheroma in vivo (intravascular ultrasound) and reduced lesion cross-sectional area (postmortem histology). IGF-1 increased plaque’s fibrous cap thickness, and reduced necrotic core, macrophage content, and cell apoptosis, consistent with promotion of a stable plaque phenotype. IGF-1 reduced circulating triglycerides, markers of systemic oxidative stress, and CXCL12 chemokine levels. We used spatial transcriptomics (ST) to identify global transcriptome changes in advanced plaque compartments and to obtain mechanistic insights into IGF-1 effects. ST analysis showed that IGF-1 suppressed FOS/FOSB factors and gene expression of MMP9 and CXCL14 in plaque macrophages, suggesting possible involvement of these molecules in IGF-1’s effect on atherosclerosis. Thus, IGF-1 reduced coronary plaque burden and promoted features of stable plaque in a pig model, providing support for consideration of clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere165713
JournalJCI insight
Issue number4
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2023


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