CTP synthase 1, a smooth muscle-sensitive therapeutic target for effective vascular repair.
ABSTRACT: Vascular remodeling as a result of smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and neointima formation is a major medical challenge in cardiovascular intervention. However, antineointima drugs often indistinguishably block re-endothelialization, an essential step toward successful vascular repair, because of their nonspecific effect on endothelial cells (ECs). The objective of this study is to identify a therapeutic target that differentially regulates SMC and EC proliferation.Using both rat balloon injury and mouse wire injury models, we identified CTP synthase 1 (CTPS1) as one of the potential targets that may be used for developing therapeutics for treating neointima-related disorders. CTPS1 was induced in proliferative SMCs in vitro and neointima SMCs in vivo. Blockade of CTPS1 expression by small hairpin RNA or activity by cyclopentenyl cytosine suppressed SMC proliferation and neointima formation. Surprisingly, cyclopentenyl cytosine had much less effect on EC proliferation. Of importance, blockade of CTPS1 in vivo sustained the re-endothelialization as a result of induction of CTP synthesis salvage pathway enzymes nucleoside-diphosphate kinase A and B in ECs. Diphosphate kinase B seemed to preserve EC proliferation via use of extracellular cytidine to synthesize CTP. Indeed, blockade of both CTPS1 and diphosphate kinase B suppressed EC proliferation in vitro and the re-endothelialization in vivo.Our study uncovered a fundamental difference in CTP biosynthesis between SMCs and ECs during vascular remodeling, which provided a novel strategy by using cyclopentenyl cytosine or other CTPS1 inhibitors to selectively block SMC proliferation without disturbing or even promoting re-endothelialization for effective vascular repair after injury.
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:Intimal hyperplasia is the cause of the recurrent occlusive vascular disease (restenosis). Drugs currently used to treat restenosis effectively inhibit smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, but also inhibit the growth of the protective luminal endothelial cell (EC) lining, leading to thrombosis. To identify compounds that selectively inhibit SMC versus EC proliferation, we have developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) format using human cells and have employed this to screen a multiple compound collection (NIH Clinical Collection). We developed an automated, accurate proliferation assay in 96-well plates using human aortic SMCs and ECs. Using this HTS format we screened a 447-drug NIH Clinical Library. We identified 11 compounds that inhibited SMC proliferation greater than 50%, among which idarubicin exhibited a unique feature of preferentially inhibiting SMC versus EC proliferation. Concentration-response analysis revealed this differential effect most evident over an ?10 nM-5 µM window. In vivo testing of idarubicin in a rat carotid injury model at 14 days revealed an 80% reduction of intimal hyperplasia and a 45% increase of lumen size with no significant effect on re-endothelialization. Taken together, we have established a HTS assay of human vascular cell proliferation, and identified idarubicin as a selective inhibitor of SMC versus EC proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Screening of larger and more diverse compound libraries may lead to the discovery of next-generation therapeutics that can inhibit intima hyperplasia without impairing re-endothelialization.
Project description:Endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play key roles in the development of intimal hyperplasia in saphenous vein (SV) bypass grafts. In diabetic patients, insulin administration controls hyperglycaemia but cardiovascular complications remain. Insulin is synthesised as a pro-peptide, from which C-peptide is cleaved and released into the circulation with insulin; exogenous insulin lacks C-peptide. Here we investigate modulation of human SV neointima formation and SV-EC and SV-SMC function by insulin and C-peptide.Effects of insulin and C-peptide on neointima formation (organ cultures), EC and SMC proliferation (cell counting), EC migration (scratch wound), SMC migration (Boyden chamber) and signalling (immunoblotting) were examined. A real-time RT-PCR array identified insulin-responsive genes, and results were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. Targeted gene silencing (siRNA) was used to assess functional relevance.Insulin (100 nmol/l) augmented SV neointimal thickening (70% increase, 14 days), SMC proliferation (55% increase, 7 days) and migration (150% increase, 6 h); effects were abrogated by 10 nmol/l C-peptide. C-peptide did not affect insulin-induced Akt or extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling (15 min), but array data and gene silencing implicated sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1 (SREBF1). Insulin (1-100 nmol/l) did not modify EC proliferation or migration, whereas 10 nmol/l C-peptide stimulated EC proliferation by 40% (5 days).Our data support a causative role for insulin in human SV neointima formation with a novel counter-regulatory effect of proinsulin C-peptide. Thus, C-peptide can limit the detrimental effects of insulin on SMC function. Co-supplementing insulin therapy with C-peptide could improve therapy in insulin-treated patients.
Project description:Local modulation of vascular mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling reduces smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation after endovascular interventions but may be associated with endothelial cell (EC) toxicity. The trilaminate vascular architecture juxtaposes ECs and SMCs to enable complex paracrine coregulation but shields SMCs from flow. We hypothesized that flow differentially affects mTOR signaling in ECs and SMCs and that SMCs regulate mTOR in ECs.SMCs and/or ECs were exposed to coronary artery flow in a perfusion bioreactor. We demonstrated by flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting that EC expression of phospho-S6 ribosomal protein (p-S6RP), a downstream target of mTOR, was doubled by flow. Conversely, S6RP in SMCs was growth factor but not flow responsive, and SMCs eliminated the flow sensitivity of ECs. Temsirolimus, a sirolimus analog, eliminated the effect of growth factor on SMCs and of flow on ECs, reducing p-S6RP below basal levels and inhibiting endothelial recovery. EC p-S6RP expression in stented porcine arteries confirmed our in vitro findings: Phosphorylation was greatest in ECs farthest from intact SMCs in metal stented arteries and altogether absent after sirolimus stent elution.The mTOR pathway is activated in ECs in response to luminal flow. SMCs inhibit this flow-induced stimulation of endothelial mTOR pathway. Thus, we now define a novel external stimulus regulating phosphorylation of S6RP and another level of EC-SMC crosstalk. These interactions may explain the impact of local antiproliferative delivery that targets SMC proliferation and suggest that future stents integrate design influences on flow and drug effects on their molecular targets.
Project description:Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a serine protease inhibitor that promotes and inhibits cell migration, plays a complex and important role in adverse vascular remodeling. Little is known about the effects of pharmacological PAI-1 inhibitors, an emerging drug class, on migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs), crucial mediators of vascular remodeling. We investigated the effects of PAI-039 (tiplaxtinin), a specific PAI-1 inhibitor, on SMC and EC migration in vitro and vascular remodeling in vivo.PAI-039 inhibited SMC migration through collagen gels, including those supplemented with vitronectin and other extracellular matrix proteins, but did not inhibit migration of PAI-1-deficient SMCs, suggesting that its antimigratory effects were PAI-1-specific and physiologically relevant. However, PAI-039 did not inhibit EC migration. PAI-039 inhibited phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of signal transducers and activators of transcription-1 in SMCs, but had no discernable effect on signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 signaling in ECs. Expression of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1, a motogenic PAI-1 receptor that activates Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription-1 signaling, was markedly lower in ECs than in SMCs. Notably, PAI-039 significantly inhibited intimal hyperplasia and inflammation in murine models of adverse vascular remodeling, but did not adversely affect re-endothelialization after endothelium-denuding mechanical vascular injury.PAI-039 inhibits SMC migration and intimal hyperplasia, while having no inhibitory effect on ECs, which seems to be because of differences in PAI-1-dependent low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1/Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 signaling between SMCs and ECs. These findings suggest that PAI-1 may be an important therapeutic target in obstructive vascular diseases characterized by neointimal hyperplasia.
Project description:Vascular diseases are characterized by the over-proliferation and migration of aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) within the vessel wall, leading to compromise in cell-cell and cell-matrix signaling pathways. Tissue engineering approaches to regulate SMC over-proliferation and enhance healthy ECM synthesis showed promise, but resulted in low crosslinking efficiency. Here, we report the benefits of exogenous nitric oxide (NO) cues, delivered from S-Nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), to cell proliferation and matrix deposition by adult human aortic SMCs (HA-SMCs) within three-dimensional (3D) biomimetic cocultures. A coculture platform with two adjacent, permeable 3D culture chambers was developed to enable paracrine signaling between vascular cells. HA-SMCs were cultured in these chambers within collagen hydrogels, either alone or in the presence of human aortic endothelial cells (HA-ECs) cocultures, and exogenously supplemented with varying GSNO dosages (0-100?nM) for 21 days. Results showed that EC cocultures stimulated SMC proliferation within GSNO-free cultures. With increasing GSNO concentration, HA-SMC proliferation decreased in the presence or absence of EC cocultures, while HA-EC proliferation increased. GSNO (100?nM) significantly enhanced the protein amounts synthesized by HA-SMCs, in the presence or absence of EC cocultures, while lower dosages (1-10?nM) offered marginal benefits. Multi-fold increases in the synthesis and deposition of elastin, glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and lysyl oxidase crosslinking enzyme (LOX) were noted at higher GSNO dosages, and coculturing with ECs significantly furthered these trends. Similar increases in TIMP-1 and MMP-9 levels were noted within cocultures with increasing GSNO dosages. Such increases in matrix synthesis correlated with NO-stimulated increases in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression within EC and SMC cultures, respectively. Results attest to the benefits of delivering NO cues to suppress SMC proliferation and promote robust ECM synthesis and deposition by adult human SMCs, with significant applications in tissue engineering, biomaterial scaffold development, and drug delivery.
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: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:The novel nonsteroidal mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist finerenone holds promise to be safe and efficient in the treatment of patients with heart failure and/or chronic kidney disease. However, its effects on vascular function remain elusive.The aim of this study was to determine the functional effect of selective MR antagonism by finerenone in vascular cells in vitro and the effect on vascular remodeling following acute vascular injury in vivo.In vitro, finerenone dose-dependently reduced aldosterone-induced smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, as quantified by BrdU incorporation, and prevented aldosterone-induced endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis, as measured with a flow cytometry based caspase 3/7 activity assay. In vivo, oral application of finerenone resulted in an accelerated re-endothelialization 3 days following electric injury of the murine carotid artery. Furthermore, finerenone treatment inhibited intimal and medial cell proliferation following wire-induced injury of the murine femoral artery 10 days following injury and attenuated neointimal lesion formation 21 days following injury.Finerenone significantly reduces apoptosis of ECs and simultaneously attenuates SMC proliferation, resulting in accelerated endothelial healing and reduced neointima formation of the injured vessels. Thus, finerenone appears to provide favorable vascular effects through restoring vascular integrity and preventing adverse vascular remodeling.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Invasive coronary interventions can fail due to intimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Endothelial cell (EC) seeding to the vessel lumen, accelerating re-endothelialization, or local release of mTOR pathway inhibitors have helped reduce intimal hyperplasia after vessel injury. While animal models are powerful tools, they are complex and expensive, and not always reflective of human physiology. Therefore, we developed an in vitro 3D vascular model validating previous in vivo animal models and utilizing isolated human arteries to study vascular remodeling after injury. APPROACH:We utilized a bioreactor that enables the control of intramural pressure and shear stress in vessel conduits to investigate the vascular response in both rat and human arteries to intraluminal injury. RESULTS:Culturing rat aorta segments in vitro, we show that vigorous removal of luminal ECs results in vessel injury, causing medial proliferation by Day-4 and neointima formation, with the observation of SCA1+ cells (stem cell antigen-1) in the intima by Day-7, in the absence of flow. Conversely, when endothelial-denuded rat aortae and human umbilical arteries were subjected to arterial shear stress, pre-seeding with human umbilical ECs decreased the number and proliferation of smooth muscle cell (SMC) significantly in the media of both rat and human vessels. CONCLUSION:Our bioreactor system provides a novel platform for correlating ex vivo findings with vascular outcomes in vivo. The present in vitro human arterial injury model can be helpful in the study of EC-SMC interactions and vascular remodeling, by allowing for the separation of mechanical, cellular, and soluble factors.