ABSTRACT: The mechanism of vascular calcification in CKD is not understood fully, but may involve collagen deposition in the arterial wall upon osteo/chondrocytic transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Increased levels of circulating angiopoietin-2 correlate with markers of CKD progression and angiopoietin-2 regulate inflammatory responses, including intercellular and vascular adhesion and recruitment of VSMCs. Here, we investigate the potential role of angiopoietin-2 in the pathogenesis of arterial stiffness associated with CKD. In a cohort of 416 patients with CKD, the plasma level of angiopoietin-2 correlated independently with the severity of arterial stiffness assessed by pulse wave velocity. In mice subjected to 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy or unilateral ureteral obstruction, plasma levels of angiopoietin-2 also increased. Angiopoietin-2 expression markedly increased in tubular epithelial cells of fibrotic kidneys but decreased in other tissues, including aorta and lung, after 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy. Expression of collagen and profibrotic genes in aortic VSMCs increased in mice after 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy and in mice producing human angiopoietin-2. Angiopoietin-2 stimulated endothelial expression of chemokines and adhesion molecules for monocytes, increased Ly6C(low) macrophages in aorta, and increased the expression of the profibrotic cytokine TGF-?1 in aortic endothelial cells and Ly6C(low) macrophages. Angiopoietin-2 blockade attenuated expression of monocyte chemokines, profibrotic cytokines, and collagen in aorta of mice after 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy. This study identifies angiopoietin-2 as a link between kidney fibrosis and arterial stiffness. Targeting angiopoietin-2 to attenuate inflammation and collagen expression may provide a novel therapy for cardiovascular disease in CKD.
Project description:Medial vascular calcification, associated with enhanced mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD), is fostered by osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Here, we describe that serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) was upregulated in VSMCs under calcifying conditions. In primary human aortic VSMCs, overexpression of constitutively active SGK1S422D, but not inactive SGK1K127N, upregulated osteo-/chondrogenic marker expression and activity, effects pointing to increased osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation. SGK1S422D induced nuclear translocation and increased transcriptional activity of NF-?B. Silencing or pharmacological inhibition of IKK abrogated the osteoinductive effects of SGK1S422D. Genetic deficiency, silencing, and pharmacological inhibition of SGK1 dissipated phosphate-induced calcification and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of VSMCs. Aortic calcification, stiffness, and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation in mice following cholecalciferol overload were strongly reduced by genetic knockout or pharmacological inhibition of Sgk1 by EMD638683. Similarly, Sgk1 deficiency blunted vascular calcification in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice after subtotal nephrectomy. Treatment of human aortic smooth muscle cells with serum from uremic patients induced osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation, effects ameliorated by EMD638683. These observations identified SGK1 as a key regulator of vascular calcification. SGK1 promoted vascular calcification, at least partly, via NF-?B activation. Inhibition of SGK1 may, thus, reduce the burden of vascular calcification in CKD.
Project description:High-dose intravenous iron supplementation is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes in patients with CKD, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Our study investigated the causative role of iron sucrose in leukocyte-endothelium interactions, an index of early atherogenesis, and subsequent atherosclerosis in the mouse remnant kidney model. We found that expression levels of intracellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and adhesion of U937 cells increased in iron-treated human aortic endothelial cells through upregulated NADPH oxidase (NOx) and NF-?B signaling. We then measured mononuclear-endothelial adhesion and atherosclerotic lesions of the proximal aorta in male C57BL/6 mice with subtotal nephrectomy, male apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mice with uninephrectomy, and sham-operated mice subjected to saline or parenteral iron loading. Iron sucrose significantly increased tissue superoxide production, expression of tissue cell adhesion molecules, and endothelial adhesiveness in mice with subtotal nephrectomy. Moreover, iron sucrose exacerbated atherosclerosis in the aorta of ApoE(-/-) mice with uninephrectomy. In patients with CKD, intravenous iron sucrose increased circulating mononuclear superoxide production, expression of soluble adhesion molecules, and mononuclear-endothelial adhesion compared with healthy subjects or untreated patients. In summary, iron sucrose aggravated endothelial dysfunction through NOx/NF-?B/CAM signaling, increased mononuclear-endothelial adhesion, and exacerbated atherosclerosis in mice with remnant kidneys. These results suggest a novel causative role for therapeutic iron in cardiovascular complications in patients with CKD.
Project description:Background The high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality of patients with CKD may result in large part from medial vascular calcification, a process promoted by hyperphosphatemia and involving osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Reduced serum zinc levels have frequently been observed in patients with CKD, but the functional relevance of this remains unclear.Methods We performed experiments in primary human aortic VSMCs; klotho-hypomorphic (kl/kl), subtotal nephrectomy, and cholecalciferol-overload mouse calcification models; and serum samples from patients with CKD.Results In cultured VSMCs, treatment with zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) blunted phosphate-induced calcification, osteo-/chondrogenic signaling, and NF-κB activation. ZnSO4 increased the abundance of zinc-finger protein TNF-α-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3, also known as A20), a suppressor of the NF-κB pathway, by zinc-sensing receptor ZnR/GPR39-dependent upregulation of TNFAIP3 gene expression. Silencing of TNFAIP3 in VSMCs blunted the anticalcific effects of ZnSO4 under high phosphate conditions. kl/kl mice showed reduced plasma zinc levels, and ZnSO4 supplementation strongly blunted vascular calcification and aortic osteoinduction and upregulated aortic Tnfaip3 expression. ZnSO4 ameliorated vascular calcification in mice with chronic renal failure and mice with cholecalciferol overload. In patients with CKD, serum zinc concentrations inversely correlated with serum calcification propensity. Finally, ZnSO4 ameliorated the osteoinductive effects of uremic serum in VSMCs.Conclusions Zinc supplementation ameliorates phosphate-induced osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of VSMCs and vascular calcification through an active cellular mechanism resulting from GPR39-dependent induction of TNFAIP3 and subsequent suppression of the NF-κB pathway. Zinc supplementation may be a simple treatment to reduce the burden of vascular calcification in CKD.
Project description:Although patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at increased risk for end-stage renal disease and cardiovascular events, adequate drug therapies for preventing the deterioration of these conditions are still not established. This study was undertaken to evaluate a preventive effect of an angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor sacubitril/valsartan (LCZ696), which is converted to sacubitril and valsartan in the body, against the progression of renal disease in rats with subtotal nephrectomy, an animal model of human CKD. Mean survival time after subtotal nephrectomy was about 100 days in Wistar rats with vehicle. LCZ696-(30 mg/kg) and valsartan-(15 mg/kg) prolonged the survival of these animals, and the effect of LCZ696 on survival was significantly greater than that of valsartan. Renoprotective effects of LCZ696 judged by serum creatinine and urinary protein excretions were larger than those of valsartan. Cardioprotective effects judged by cardiac left ventricular mass, fractional shortening, and fibrosis of LCZ696 and valsartan were not detected under the present condition. Thus, the renoprotective effect of LCZ696 was stronger than that of valsartan in rats with subtotal nephrectomy. This study provides the idea that, compared to valsartan, LCZ696 is more effective for the treatment of human CKD.
Project description:Over the past few decades, isometric contraction studies of isolated thoracic aorta segments have significantly contributed to our overall understanding of the active, contractile properties of aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and their cross-talk with endothelial cells. However, the physiological role of VSMC contraction or relaxation in the healthy aorta and its contribution to the pulse-smoothening capacity of the aorta is currently unclear. Therefore, we investigated the acute effects of VSMC contraction and relaxation on the isobaric biomechanical properties of healthy mouse aorta. An in-house developed set-up was used to measure isobaric stiffness parameters of periodically stretched (10 Hz) aortic segments at an extended pressure range, while pharmacologically modulating VSMC tone and endothelial cell function. We found that the effects of ?1-adrenergic stimulation with phenylephrine on the pressure-stiffness relationship varied in sensitivity, magnitude and direction, with the basal, unstimulated NO production by the endothelium playing a pivotal role. We also investigated how arterial disease affected this system by using the angiotensin-II-treated mouse. Our results show that isobaric stiffness was increased and that the aortic segments demonstrated a reduced capacity for modulating the pressure-stiffness relationship. This suggests that not only increased isobaric stiffness at normal pressure, but also a reduced capacity of the VSMCs to limit the pressure-associated increase in aortic stiffness, may contribute to the pathogenesis of this mouse model. Overall, this study provides more insight in how aortic VSMC tone affects the pressure-dependency of aortic biomechanics at different physiological and pathological conditions.
Project description:The glycosylated protein vasorin physically interacts with the transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-?1) and functionally attenuates its fibrogenic signaling in the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) of the arterial wall. Angiotensin II (Ang II) amplifies TGF-?1 activation in the VSMCs of the arterial wall with aging. In this study, we hypothesized that a reduced expression of the protein vasorin plays a contributory role in magnifying Ang II-associated fibrogenic signaling in the VSMCs of the arterial wall with aging. The current study shows that vasorin mRNA and protein expression were significantly decreased both in aortic wall and VSMCs from old (30 mo) vs. young (8 mo) FXBN rats. Exposing young VSMCs to Ang II reduced vasorin protein expression to the levels of old untreated cells while treating old VSMCs with the Ang II type AT1 receptor antagonist Losartan upregulated vasorin protein expression up to the levels of young. The physical interaction between vasorin and TGF-?1 was significantly decreased in old vs. young VSMCs. Further, exposing young VSMCs to Ang II increased the levels of matrix metalloproteinase type II (MMP-2) activation and TGF-?1 downstream molecules p-SMAD-2/3 and collagen type I production up to the levels of old untreated VSMCs, and these effects were substantially inhibited by overexpressing vasorin. Administration of Ang II to young rats (8 mo) for 28 days via an osmotic minipump markedly reduced the expression of vasorin. Importantly, vasorin protein was effectively cleaved by activated MMP-2 both in vitro and in vivo. Administration of the MMP inhibitor, PD 166793, for 6 mo to young adult (18 mo) via a daily gavage markedly increased levels of vasorin in the aortic wall. Thus, reduced vasorin amplifies Ang II profibrotic signaling via an activation of MMP-2 in VSMCs within the aging arterial wall.
Project description:Arterial stiffness and wall shear stress are powerful determinants of cardiovascular health, and arterial stiffness is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality. Low and oscillatory wall shear stress, termed disturbed flow (d-flow), promotes atherosclerotic arterial remodeling, but the relationship between d-flow and arterial stiffness is not well understood. The objective of this study was to define the role of d-flow on arterial stiffening and discover the relevant signaling pathways by which d-flow stiffens arteries.D-flow was induced in the carotid arteries of young and old mice of both sexes. Arterial stiffness was quantified ex vivo with cylindrical biaxial mechanical testing and in vivo from duplex ultrasound and compared with unmanipulated carotid arteries from 80-week-old mice. Gene expression and pathway analysis was performed on endothelial cell-enriched RNA and validated by immunohistochemistry. In vitro testing of signaling pathways was performed under oscillatory and laminar wall shear stress conditions. Human arteries from regions of d-flow and stable flow were tested ex vivo to validate critical results from the animal model.D-flow induced arterial stiffening through collagen deposition after partial carotid ligation, and the degree of stiffening was similar to that of unmanipulated carotid arteries from 80-week-old mice. Intimal gene pathway analyses identified transforming growth factor-? pathways as having a prominent role in this stiffened arterial response, but this was attributable to thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) stimulation of profibrotic genes and not changes to transforming growth factor-?. In vitro and in vivo testing under d-flow conditions identified a possible role for TSP-1 activation of transforming growth factor-? in the upregulation of these genes. TSP-1 knockout animals had significantly less arterial stiffening in response to d-flow than wild-type carotid arteries. Human arteries exposed to d-flow had similar increases TSP-1 and collagen gene expression as seen in our model.TSP-1 has a critical role in shear-mediated arterial stiffening that is mediated in part through TSP-1's activation of the profibrotic signaling pathways of transforming growth factor-?. Molecular targets in this pathway may lead to novel therapies to limit arterial stiffening and the progression of disease in arteries exposed to d-flow.
Project description:Studies revealed that the use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system antagonism is not associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) compared with that in the general population. We tested the hypothesis that indoxyl sulfate (IS) can interfere with the protective effect of valsartan-mediated on endothelial function in vitro and neovascularization in mice underwent subtotal nephrectomy. In human aortic endothelial cells, we first demonstrated that IS impaired the valsartan-mediated phosphorylation of eNOSThr495, nitric oxide production and tube formation via NADPH oxidase (NOX) and protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation, but this effect was suppressed by cotreatment with apocynin and calphostin C. In vivo, IS attenuated valsartan-induced angiogenesis in Matrigel plugs in mice. Moreover, in subtotal nephrectomy mice who underwent hindlimb ischemic surgery, valsartan significantly increased the mobilization of endothelial progenitor cells in circulation as well as the reperfusion of blood flow and density of CD31+ capillaries in ischemic limbs. However, IS attenuated the protective effect of valsartan-induced neovascularization and increased the expression of p-PKC?Ser657 and p-eNOSThr497 in ischemic limbs. Cotreatment of apocynin and calphostin C reversed the IS impaired-neovascularization and decreased the expression of p-PKC?Ser657 and p-eNOSThr497 in ischemic limbs. Our study suggests that the NOX/PKC/eNOS signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in the IS-mediated inhibition of valsartan-conferred beneficial effects on endothelial function in vitro and neovascularization in subtotal nephrectomy mice. We proposed a novel causative role for IS in cardiovascular complications in CKD patients.
Project description:Accelerated atherosclerosis and increased cardiovascular events are not only more common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) but are more resistant to therapeutic interventions effective in the general population. The oral charcoal adsorbent, AST-120, currently used to delay start of dialysis, reduces circulating and tissue uremic toxins, which may contribute to vasculopathy, including atherosclerosis. We, therefore, investigated whether AST-120 affects CKD-induced atherosclerosis.Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice, a model of atherosclerosis, underwent uninephrectomy, subtotal nephrectomy or sham operation at 8 weeks of age and were treated with AST-120 after renal ablation. Atherosclerosis and its characteristics were assessed at 25 weeks of age.Uninephrectomy and subtotal nephrectomised mice had significantly increased acceleration of atherosclerosis. AST-120 treatment dramatically reduced the atherosclerotic burden in mice with kidney damage, while there was no beneficial effect in sham-operated mice. The benefit was independent of blood pressure, serum total cholesterol or creatinine clearance. AST-120 significantly decreased necrotic areas and lessened aortic deposition of the uremic toxin indoxyl sulfate without affecting lesional macrophage or collagen content. Furthermore, AST-120 lessened aortic expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, tumor necrosis factor-? and interleukin-1? messenger RNA.AST-120 lessens the extent of atherosclerosis induced by kidney injury and alters lesion characteristics in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice, resulting in plaques with a more stable phenotype with less necrosis and reduced inflammation.
Project description:Heart disease contributes to the progression of CKD. Heart tissue produces a number of secreted proteins, also known as cardiokines, which participate in intercellular and intertissue communication. We recently reported that follistatin-like 1 (Fstl1) functions as a cardiokine with cardioprotective properties. Here, we investigated the role of cardiac Fstl1 in renal injury after subtotal nephrectomy. Cardiac-specific Fstl1-deficient (cFstl1-KO) mice and wild-type mice were subjected to subtotal (5/6) nephrectomy. cFstl1-KO mice showed exacerbation of urinary albumin excretion, glomerular hypertrophy, and tubulointerstitial fibrosis after subtotal renal ablation compared with wild-type mice. cFstl1-KO mice also exhibited increased mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-? and IL-6, NADPH oxidase components, and fibrotic mediators, in the remnant kidney. Conversely, systemic administration of adenoviral vectors expressing Fstl1 (Ad-Fstl1) to wild-type mice with subtotal nephrectomy led to amelioration of albuminuria, glomerular hypertrophy, and tubulointerstitial fibrosis, accompanied by reduced expression of proinflammatory mediators, NADPH oxidase components, and fibrotic markers in the remnant kidney. In cultured human mesangial cells, treatment with recombinant FSTL1 attenuated TNF-?-stimulated expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Treatment of mesangial cells with FSTL1 augmented the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and inhibition of AMPK activation abrogated the anti-inflammatory effects of FSTL1. These data suggest that Fstl1 functions in cardiorenal communication and that the lack of Fstl1 production by myocytes promotes glomerular and tubulointerstitial damage in the kidney.