Low-dose calcitriol decreases aortic renin, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis in apoe-null mice

Maya Ish-Shalom, Jessica Sack, Michal Vechoropoulos, Aviv Shaish, Michal Entin-Meer, Yehuda Kamari, Sophia Maysel-Auslender, Gad Keren, Dror Harats, Naftali Stern, Karen Tordjman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To determine whether low-dose calcitriol attenuates atherosclerosis in apoE-null mice and, if so, through which predominant mechanism. Methods: Starting at the age of 6 weeks, mice received intraperitoneal injections of either 0.25 ng/g body weight of calcitriol or the vehicle, every other day for 8 weeks. Results: Calcitriol treatment resulted in 35% reduction of atherosclerosis at the aortic sinus, and in a significant decrease in blood pressure. These effects were possibly mediated by downregulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), as there was a 64% decrease in the aortic level of renin mRNA. None of the other components of the RAS or the prorenin receptor were affected by treatment. Lowdose calcitriol treatment did not modify the plasma level of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, interferon γ, interleukin-4 and interleukin-10, which were similar in control and treated mice. Likewise, there was no difference in the percentage of splenic Foxp3 + regulatory T cells. Calcitriol treatment resulted in an unfavorable metabolic profile (glucose and lipids), as determined after a limited fast, a difference that disappeared after food was withheld for a longer time. Conclusions: At a relatively low dosage, calcitriol attenuates the development of atherosclerosis in apoE-null mice, most probably by down regulation of RAS, and not through immunomodulation; however, even at this low dose, calcitriol appears to elevate calcium and to have potentially adverse metabolic effects. Exploring the potential antiatherogenic effects of non-calcemic and safer analogues is therefore warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012


  • ApoE-null mice
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blood pressure
  • Immunomodulation
  • Renin
  • Renin-angiotensin system
  • T-regs lymphocytes
  • Vitamin D


Dive into the research topics of 'Low-dose calcitriol decreases aortic renin, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis in apoe-null mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this