Shear stress induces synthetic-to-contractile phenotypic modulation in smooth muscle cells via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha/delta activations by prostacyclin released by sheared endothelial cells.
ABSTRACT: Phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs), which are located in close proximity to endothelial cells (ECs), is critical in regulating vascular function. The role of flow-induced shear stress in the modulation of SMC phenotype has not been well defined.The objective was to elucidate the role of shear stress on ECs in modulating SMC phenotype and its underlying mechanism.Application of shear stress (12 dyn/cm2) to ECs cocultured with SMCs modulated SMC phenotype from synthetic to contractile state, with upregulation of contractile markers, downregulation of proinflammatory genes, and decreased percentage of cells in the synthetic phase. Treating SMCs with media from sheared ECs induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha, -delta, and -gamma ligand binding activities; transfecting SMCs with specific small interfering (si)RNAs of PPAR-alpha and -delta, but not -gamma, inhibited shear induction of contractile markers. ECs exposed to shear stress released prostacyclin (PGI2). Transfecting ECs with PGI2 synthase-specific siRNA inhibited shear-induced activation of PPAR-alpha/delta, upregulation of contractile markers, downregulation of proinflammatory genes, and decrease in percentage of SMCs in synthetic phase. Mice with PPAR-alpha deficiency (compared with control littermates) showed altered SMC phenotype toward a synthetic state, with increased arterial contractility in response to angiotensin II.These results indicate that laminar shear stress induces synthetic-to-contractile phenotypic modulation in SMCs through the activation of PPAR-alpha/delta by the EC-released PGI2. Our findings provide insights into the mechanisms underlying the EC-SMC interplays and the protective homeostatic function of laminar shear stress in modulating SMC phenotype.
Project description:RATIONALE:Endothelial microRNA-126 (miR-126) modulates vascular development and angiogenesis. However, its role in the regulation of smooth muscle cell (SMC) function is unknown. OBJECTIVE:To elucidate the role of miR-126 secreted by endothelial cells (ECs) in regulating SMC turnover in vitro and in vivo, as well as the effects of shear stress on the regulation. METHODS AND RESULTS:Coculture of SMCs with ECs or treatment of SMCs with conditioned media from static EC monoculture (EC-CM) increased SMC miR-126 level and SMC turnover; these effects were abolished by inhibition of endothelial miR-126 and by the application of laminar shear stress to ECs. SMC miR-126 did not increase when treated with EC-CM from ECs subjected to inhibition of miR biogenesis, or with CM from sheared ECs. Depletion of extracellular/secreted vesicles in EC-CM did not affect the increase of SMC miR-126 by EC-CM. Biotinylated miR-126 or FLAG (DYKDDDDK epitope)-tagged Argonaute2 transfected into ECs was detected in the cocultured or EC-CM-treated SMCs, indicating a direct EC-to-SMC transmission of miR-126 and Argonaute2. Endothelial miR-126 represses forkhead box O3, B-cell lymphoma 2, and insulin receptor substrate 1 mRNAs in the cocultured SMCs, suggesting the functional roles of the transmitted miR-126. Systemic depletion of miR-126 in mice inhibited neointimal lesion formation of carotid arteries induced by cessation of blood flow. Administration of EC-CM or miR-126 mitigated the inhibitory effect. CONCLUSIONS:Endothelial miR-126 acts as a key intercellular mediator to increase SMC turnover, and its release is reduced by atheroprotective laminar shear stress.
Project description:Recently, our group has contrasted an endothelial cell-smooth muscle cell (EC-SMC) co-culture model with 3D-cultured SMCs and found that SMCs could respond to high shear stress (SS), which has not been explored before. SMCs were not directly exposed to the flow but were under an EC monolayer; therefore, it is necessary to explore the influence of EC on SMC behaviors under high SS for understanding the mechanism of SMC response to various magnitudes of SS. In the present study, TGF-?1 expression in ECs in an EC-SMC co-culture model was suppressed by an siRNA transfection method. Next, phenotypic changes were observed and MMP-2 and -9 productions were measured in SMCs in the co-culture model after 72-h flow exposure to different SS levels. We confirmed that TGF-?1 expression in ECs could influence SMC phenotypic change under SS conditions and that TGF-?1 expression in ECs could also change MMP-2 production but not MMP-9 production in SMCs under SS conditions in the co-culture model. These results could be useful for understanding the mechanisms of SMC response to SS, particularly for understanding signal transduction emanating from ECs.
Project description:Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) at arterial branches and curvatures experience disturbed blood flow and induce a quiescent-to-activated phenotypic transition of the adjacent smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and a subsequent smooth muscle hyperplasia. However, the mechanism underlying the flow pattern-specific initiation of EC-to-SMC signaling remains elusive. Our previous study demonstrated that endothelial microRNA-126-3p (miR-126-3p) acts as a key intercellular molecule to increase turnover of the recipient SMCs, and that its release is reduced by atheroprotective laminar shear (12 dynes/cm2) to ECs. Here we provide evidence that atherogenic oscillatory shear (0.5 ± 4 dynes/cm2), but not atheroprotective pulsatile shear (12 ± 4 dynes/cm2), increases the endothelial secretion of nonmembrane-bound miR-126-3p and other microRNAs (miRNAs) via the activation of SNAREs, vesicle-associated membrane protein 3 (VAMP3) and synaptosomal-associated protein 23 (SNAP23). Knockdown of VAMP3 and SNAP23 reduces endothelial secretion of miR-126-3p and miR-200a-3p, as well as the proliferation, migration, and suppression of contractile markers in SMCs caused by EC-coculture. Pharmacological intervention of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 in ECs blocks endothelial secretion and EC-to-SMC transfer of miR-126-3p through transcriptional inhibition of VAMP3 and SNAP23. Systemic inhibition of VAMP3 and SNAP23 by rapamycin or periadventitial application of the endocytosis inhibitor dynasore ameliorates the disturbed flow-induced neointimal formation, whereas intraluminal overexpression of SNAP23 aggravates it. Our findings demonstrate the flow-pattern-specificity of SNARE activation and its contribution to the miRNA-mediated EC-SMC communication.
Project description:E-selectin is a major adhesion molecule expressed by endothelial cells (ECs), which are exposed to shear stress and neighboring smooth muscle cells (SMCs). We investigated the mechanisms underlying the modulation of EC E-selectin expression by SMCs and shear stress. SMC coculture induced rapid and sustained increases in expression of E-selectin and phosphorylation of interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor-associated kinase glycoprotein-130, as well as the downstream mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and Akt. By using specific inhibitors, dominant-negative mutants, and small interfering RNA, we demonstrated that activations of c-Jun-NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 of the MAPK pathways are critical for the coculture-induced E-selectin expression. Gel shifting and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that SMC coculture increased the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)-promoter binding activity in ECs; inhibition of NF-kappaB activation by p65-antisense, lactacystin, and N-acetyl-cysteine blocked the coculture-induced E-selectin promoter activity. Protein arrays and blocking assays using neutralizing antibodies demonstrated that IL-1beta and IL-6 produced by EC/SMC cocultures are major contributors to the coculture induction of EC signaling and E-selectin expression. Preshearing of ECs at 12 dynes/cm(2) inhibited the coculture-induced EC signaling and E-selectin expression. Our findings have elucidated the molecular mechanisms underlying the SMC induction of EC E-selectin expression and the shear stress protection against this SMC induction.
Project description:Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) are in close contact with blood vessels. SMC phenotypes can be altered during pathological vascular remodeling. However, how SMC phenotypes affect EC properties remains largely unknown. In this study, we found that PDGF-BB-induced synthetic SMCs suppressed EC proliferation and migration while exhibiting increased expression of anti-angiogenic factors, such as endostatin, and decreased pro-angiogenic factors, including CXC motif ligand 1 (CXCL1). Cyclopentenyl cytosine (CPEC), a CTP synthase inhibitor that has been reported previously to inhibit SMC proliferation and injury-induced neointima formation, induced SMC redifferentiation. Interestingly, CPEC-conditioned SMC culture medium promoted EC proliferation and migration because of an increase in CXCL1 along with decreased endostatin production in SMCs. Addition of recombinant endostatin protein or blockade of CXCL1 with a neutralizing antibody suppressed the EC proliferation and migration induced by CPEC-conditioned SMC medium. Mechanistically, CPEC functions as a cytosine derivate to stimulate adenosine receptors A1 and A2a, which further activate downstream cAMP and Akt signaling, leading to the phosphorylation of cAMP response element binding protein and, consequently, SMC redifferentiation. These data provided proof of a novel concept that synthetic SMC exhibits an anti-angiogenic SMC phenotype, whereas contractile SMC shows a pro-angiogenic phenotype. CPEC appears to be a potent stimulator for switching the anti-angiogenic SMC phenotype to the pro-angiogenic phenotype, which may be essential for CPEC to accelerate re-endothelialization for vascular repair during injury-induced vascular wall remodeling.
Project description:Myocardin (Myocd) is a potent transcriptional coactivator that has been implicated in cardiovascular development and adaptation of the cardiovascular system to hemodynamic stress. To determine the function of myocardin in the developing cardiovascular system, Myocd(F/F)/Wnt1-Cre(+) and Myocd(F/F)/Pax3-Cre(+) mice were generated in which the myocardin gene was selectively ablated in neural crest-derived SMCs populating the cardiac outflow tract and great arteries. Both Myocd(F/F)/Wnt1-Cre(+) and Myocd(F/F)/Pax3-Cre(+) mutant mice survived to birth, but died prior to postnatal day 3 from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Neural crest-derived SMCs populating the ductus arteriosus (DA) and great arteries exhibited a cell autonomous block in expression of myocardin-regulated genes encoding SMC-restricted contractile proteins. Moreover, Myocd-deficient vascular SMCs populating the DA exhibited ultrastructural features generally associated with the SMC synthetic, rather than contractile, phenotype. Consistent with these findings, ablation of the Myocd gene in primary aortic SMCs harvested from Myocd conditional mutant mice caused a dramatic decrease in SMC contractile protein expression. Taken together, these data demonstrate that myocardin regulates expression of genes required for the contractile phenotype in neural crest-derived SMCs and provide new insights into the molecular and genetic programs that may underlie PDA.
Project description:Diffusion is a limiting factor in regenerating large tissues (100-200 ?m) due to reduced nutrient supply and waste removal leading to low viability of the regenerating cells as neovascularization of the implant by the host is a slow process. Thus, generating prevascularized tissue engineered constructs, in which endothelial (ECs) and mural (MCs) cells, such as smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and pericytes (PCs), are preassembled into functional in vitro vessels capable of rapidly connecting to the host vasculature could overcome this obstacle. Toward this purpose, using feeder-free and low serum conditions, we developed a simple, efficient and rapid in vitro approach to induce the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells-hPSCs (human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells) to defined SMC populations (contractile and synthetic hPSC-SMCs) by extensively characterizing the cellular phenotype (expression of CD44, CD73, CD105, NG2, PDGFR?, and contractile proteins) and function of hPSC-SMCs. The latter were phenotypically and functionally stable for at least 8 passages, and could stabilize vessel formation and inhibit vessel network regression, when co-cultured with ECs in vitro. Subsequently, using a methylcellulose-based hydrogel system, we generated spheroids consisting of EC/hPSC-SMC (vascular organoids), which were extensively phenotypically characterized. Moreover, the vascular organoids served as focal starting points for the sprouting of capillary-like structures in vitro, whereas their delivery in vivo led to rapid generation of a complex functional vascular network. Finally, we investigated the vascularization potential of these vascular organoids, when embedded in hydrogels composed of defined extracellular components (collagen/fibrinogen/fibronectin) that can be used as scaffolds in tissue engineering applications. In summary, we developed a robust method for the generation of defined SMC phenotypes from hPSCs. Fabrication of vascularized tissue constructs using hPSC-SMC/EC vascular organoids embedded in chemically defined matrices is a significant step forward in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Project description:Laminin of different cellular sources has distinct functions. In addition to vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs), aorta also contains a small population of nestin(+) cells, whose function remains unknown. This study investigates the role of SMC- and nestin(+) cell-derived laminin in blood pressure (BP) regulation and SMC contractibility. Using mice with laminin deficiency in SMCs (SKO) or nestin(+) cells (NKO), we examined laminin-dependent changes in BP. Contractile protein expression was reduced in SKO but not NKO mice, consistent with their, respectively, low and normal baseline BP measurements. At the ultrastructural level, SKO SMCs maintained the contractile phenotype with reduced elasticity, whereas NKO SMCs switched to the synthetic phenotype and showed degeneration. Additionally, angiotensin II (Ang II) significantly increased BP in SKO but not NKO mice. It also enhanced contractile proteins to the same levels and induced SMC degeneration in both knockout mice. These data suggest that SMC laminin regulates BP via modulating contractile protein expression, whereas nestin(+) cell-derived laminin contributes to SMC phenotypic switch.
Project description:Human endothelial cells derived from umbilical cord blood (hCB-ECs) represent a promising cell source for endothelialization of tissue engineered blood vessels. hCB-ECs cultured directly above human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs), which model native and tissue engineered blood vessels, produce a confluent endothelium that responds to flow like normal human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). The objective of this study was to quantify the elastic modulus of hCB-ECs cocultured with SMCs under static and flow conditions using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Cytoskeleton structures were assessed by AFM cell surface imaging and immunofluorescence of F-actin. The elastic moduli of hCB-ECs and HAECs were similar and significantly smaller than the value for SMCs in monoculture under static conditions (p<0.05). In coculture, hCB-ECs and HAECs became significantly stiffer with moduli 160-180% larger than their corresponding values in monoculture. While the moduli of hCB-ECs and HAECs almost doubled in monoculture and flow condition, their corresponding values in coculture declined after exposure to flow. Both the number and diameter of cortical stress fiber per cell width increased in coculture and/or flow conditions, whereas the subcortical stress fiber density throughout the cell interior increased by a smaller amount. These findings indicate that changes to biomechanical properties in coculture and/or exposure to flow are correlated with changes in the cortical stress fiber density. For ECs, fluid shear stress appeared to have greater effect on the elastic modulus than the presence of SMCs and changes to the elastic modulus in coculture may be due to EC-SMC communication.
Project description:Unlike other terminally differentiated cell types, vascular SMCs display remarkable phenotypic plasticity. The adult, differentiated state is traditionally defined by expression of well-characterized SMC contractile genes. Extracellular cues, however, can induce contractile SMCs to remodel toward a synthetic state characterized by a spectrum of proliferative, migratory, and inflammatory phenotypes. We used whole-genome expression arrays to to identify genes associated with SMC phenotypic modulation. Experiment Overall Design: Rat aortic SMCs were serum-starved for 72 hours and subsequently treated with either PDGF-BB or its respective vehicle (n=2). RNA samples were hybridzed to Affymetrix arrays with the intent to identify early genes associated with SMC phenotypic modulation.