Nrf2/Keap1 system regulates vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis for vascular homeostasis: role in neointimal formation after vascular injury.
ABSTRACT: Abnormal increases in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in the intimal region after a vascular injury is a key event in developing neointimal hyperplasia. To maintain vascular function, proliferation and apoptosis of VSMCs is tightly controlled during vascular remodeling. NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) system, a key component of the oxidative stress response that acts in maintaining homeostasis, plays an important role in neointimal hyperplasia after a vascular injury; however, the role of Nrf2/Keap1 in VSMC apoptosis has not been clarified. Here we report that 14 days after arterial injury in mice, TUNEL-positive VSMCs are detected in both the neointimal and medial layers. These layers contain cells expressing high levels of Nrf2 but low Keap1 expression. In VSMCs, Keap1 depletion induces features of apoptosis, such as positive TUNEL staining and annexin V binding. These changes are associated with an increased expression of nuclear Nrf2. Simultaneous Nrf2 depletion inhibits Keap1 depletion-induced apoptosis. At 14 days after the vascular injury, Nrf2-deficient mice demonstrated fewer TUNEL-positive cells and increased neointimal formation in the neointimal and medial areas. The results suggest that the Nrf2/Keap1 system regulates VSMC apoptosis during neointimal formation, thereby inhibiting neointimal hyperplasia after a vascular injury.
Project description:Targeting apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) represents an attractive approach to diminish the occurrence of restenosis. Neddylation is a highly conserved post-translational modification process and inhibition of neddylation has been shown to regulate apoptosis of other cells. However, the impacts of neddylation inhibition on VSMCs and neointimal hyperplasia have not been studied. In our present study, we have shown that MLN4924, a selective inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE), markedly inhibited neointimal hyperplasia and accumulation of VSMCs, whereas increased apoptosis in the vascular wall. In vitro studies revealed that MLN4924 induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis of human VSMCs. Knockdown of NAE1 had similar effects. MLN4924 upregulated p53 and p62 in human VSMCs. Knockdown of either p53 or p62 mitigated the impacts of MLN4924 on G2/M arrest and apoptosis. Moreover, p53 knockdown abolished MLN4924-induced upregulation of p62. Finally, smooth muscle p53 knockout mice were generated and subjected to femoral artery injury and MLN4924 treatment. Deficiency of p53 in smooth muscle blocked the effects of MLN4924 on neointimal hyperplasia and apoptosis. Together, our results revealed that neddylation inhibition induces apoptosis through p53 and p62 in VSMCs and improves neointimal hyperplasia mainly by promoting apoptosis through smooth muscle p53 in mice. These pre-clinical data provide strong translational implications for targeting restenosis by perturbation of neddylation using MLN4924.
Project description:Excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and incomplete re-endothelialization is a major clinical problem limiting the long-term efficacy of percutaneous coronary angioplasty. We tested if dimethylfumarate (DMF), an anti-psoriasis drug, could inhibit abnormal vascular remodeling via NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) activity. DMF significantly attenuated neointimal hyperplasia induced by balloon injury in rat carotid arteries via suppression of the G1 to S phase transition resulting from induction of p21 protein in VSMCs. Initially, DMF increased p21 protein stability through an enhancement in Nrf2 activity without an increase in p21 mRNA. Later on, DMF stimulated p21 mRNA expression through a process dependent on p53 activity. However, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) or NQO1 activity, well-known target genes induced by Nrf2, were dispensable for the DMF induction of p21 protein and the effect on the VSMC proliferation. Likewise, DMF protected endothelial cells from TNF-?-induced apoptosis and the dysfunction characterized by decreased eNOS expression. With knock-down of Nrf2 or NQO1, DMF failed to prevent TNF-?-induced cell apoptosis and decreased eNOS expression. Also, CD31 expression, an endothelial specific marker, was restored in vivo by DMF. In conclusion, DMF prevented abnormal proliferation in VSMCs by G1 cell cycle arrest via p21 upregulation driven by Nrf2 and p53 activity, and had a beneficial effect on TNF-?-induced apoptosis and dysfunction in endothelial cells through Nrf2-NQO1 activity suggesting that DMF might be a therapeutic drug for patients with vascular disease.
Project description:Microtubule stabilizing agents (MTSA) are known to inhibit vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation and migration, and effectively reduce neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Epothilones (EPOs), non-taxane MTSA, have been found to be effective in the inhibition of VSMC proliferation and neointimal formation by cell cycle arrest. However, effect of EPOs on apoptosis in hyper-proliferated VSMCs as a possible way to reduce neointimal formation and its action mechanism related to VSMC viability has not been suited yet. Thus, the purposes of the present study was to investigate whether EPOs are able to inhibit neointimal formation by inducing apoptosis within the region of neointimal hyperplasia in balloon-injured rat carotid artery, as well as underlying action mechanism. Treatment of EPO-B and EPO-D significantly induced apoptotic cell death and mitotic catastrophe in hyper-proliferated VSMCs, resulting in cell growth inhibition. Further, EPOs significantly suppressed VSMC proliferation and induced apoptosis by activation of p53-dependent apoptotic signaling pathway, Bax/cytochrome c/caspase-3. We further demonstrated that the local treatment of carotid arteries with EPOs potently inhibited neointimal lesion formation by induction of apoptosis in rat carotid injury model. Our findings demonstrate a potent anti-neointimal hyperplasia property of EPOs by inducing p53-depedent apoptosis in hyper-proliferated VSMCs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neointimal hyperplasia is a prominent pathological event during in-stent restenosis. Phenotype switching of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) from a differentiated/contractile to a dedifferentiated/synthetic phenotype, accompanied by migration and proliferation of VSMCs play an important role in neointimal hyperplasia. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotype switching of VSMCs have yet to be fully understood. METHODS:The mouse carotid artery ligation model was established to evaluate Sema3A expression and its role during neointimal hyperplasia in vivo. Bioinformatics analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays and promoter-luciferase reporter assays were used to examine regulatory mechanism of Sema3A expression. SiRNA transfection and lentivirus infection were performed to regulate Sema3A expression. EdU assays, Wound-healing scratch experiments and Transwell migration assays were used to assess VSMC proliferation and migration. FINDINGS:In this study, we found that semaphorin-3A (Sema3A) was significantly downregulated in VSMCs during neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury in mice and in human atherosclerotic plaques. Meanwhile, Sema3A was transcriptionally downregulated by PDGF-BB via p53 in VSMCs. Furthermore, we found that overexpression of Sema3A inhibited VSMC proliferation and migration, as well as increasing differentiated gene expression. Mechanistically, Sema3A increased the NRP1-plexin-A1 complex and decreased the NRP1-PDGFR? complex, thus inhibiting phosphorylation of PDGFR?. Moreover, we found that overexpression of Sema3A suppressed neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury in vivo. INTERPRETATION:These results suggest that local delivery of Sema3A may act as a novel therapeutic option to prevent in-stent restenosis.
Project description:Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain protein 2 (NOD2) stimulates diverse inflammatory responses resulting in differential cellular phenotypes. To identify the role of NOD2 in vascular arterial obstructive diseases, we investigated the expression and pathophysiological role of NOD2 in a vascular injury model of neointimal hyperplasia.We first analyzed for neointimal hyperplasia following femoral artery injury in NOD2(+/+) and NOD2(-/-) mice. NOD2(-/-) mice showed a 2.86-fold increase in neointimal formation that was mainly composed of smooth muscle (SM) ?-actin positive cells. NOD2 was expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and NOD2(-/-) VSMCs showed increased cell proliferation in response to mitogenic stimuli, platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), or fetal bovine serum, compared with NOD2(+/+) VSMCs. Furthermore, NOD2 deficiency markedly promoted VSMCs migration in response to PDGF-BB, and this increased cell migration was attenuated by a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor. However, protein kinase C and c-Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitors exerted negligible effects. Moreover, muramyl dipeptide-stimulated NOD2 prevented PDGF-BB-induced VSMCs migration.Functional NOD2 was found to be expressed in VSMCs, and NOD2 deficiency promoted VSMCs proliferation, migration, and neointimal formation after vascular injury. These results provide evidence for the involvement of NOD2 in vascular homeostasis and tissue injury, serving as a potential molecular target in the modulation of arteriosclerotic vascular disease.
Project description:Neointimal hyperplasia, stimulated by injury and certain vascular diseases, promotes artery obstruction and tissue ischemia. In vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMCs), multiple modulators of protein handling machinery regulate intimal hyperplasia. These include elements of the VSMC unfolded protein response to endoplasmic reticulum stress (UPRER), and transglutaminase 2 (TG2), which catalyzes post-translational protein modification. Previous results for deficiency of UPRER-specific mediator XBP1, and of TG2, have been significant, but in multiple instances contradictory, for effects on cultured VSMC function, and, using multiple models, for neointimal hyperplasia in vivo. Here, we engineered VSMC-specific deficiency of XBP1, and studied cultured VSMCs, and neointimal hyperplasia in response to carotid artery ligation in vivo. Intimal area almost doubled in Xbp1fl/fl SM22?-CRE+ mice 21 days post-ligation. Cultured murine Xbp1 deficient VSMCs migrated more in response to platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) than control VSMCs, and had an increased level of inositol-requiring enzyme 1? (Ire1?), a PDGF receptor-binding UPRER transmembrane endonuclease whose substrates include XBP1. Cultured XBP1-deficient VSMCs demonstrated decreased levels of TG2 protein, in association with increased TG2 polyubiquitination, but with increased TG transamidation catalytic activity. Moreover, IRE1?, and TG2-specific transamidation cross-links were increased in carotid artery neointima in Xbp1fl/fl SM22?-CRE+ mice. Cultured TG2-deficient VSMCs had decreased XBP1 associated with increased IRE1?, and increased migration in response to PDGF. Neointimal hyperplasia also was significantly increased in Tgm2fl/fl SM22?-CRE+ mice at 21 days after carotid ligation. In conclusion, a VSMC regulatory circuit between XBP1 and TG2 limits neointimal hyperplasia in response to carotid ligation.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:The increased proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) after arterial injury contributes greatly to the pathogenesis of neointimal hyperplasia. As a major component of epigenetics, histone methylation plays an important role in several cardiovascular diseases. However, its role in restenosis is still unclear. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:Human aortic VSMCs were challenged with PDGF-BB, and total histones were extracted and analysed by HPLC/MS. For the in vivo study, rats were subjected to wire-guided common carotid injury. KEY RESULTS:PDGF-BB markedly increased the H3K27me3 level, as demonstrated by use of HPLC/MS and confirmed by western blot analysis. Enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2), the histone H3K27 methyltransferase component of polycomb repressive complex 2, was also up-regulated by PDGF-BB in VSMCs, and in the neointimal hyperplasia induced by wire injury of the rat carotid artery. Furthermore, inhibiting H3K27me3 by treatment with 3-?M UNC1999, an EZH2/1 inhibitor, significantly suppressed PDGF-BB-induced VSMC proliferation compared with the PDGF-BB-treated group. Consistently, neointimal formation was significantly attenuated by oral or perivascular administration of UNC1999 compared with the sham group. Mechanistically, the increase in H3K27me3 inhibited the transcription of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16INK4A and thus promoted VSMC proliferation. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:Vascular injury elevated the expression of EZH2 and the downstream target H3K27me3, which suppressed p16INK4A expression in VSMCs and promoted VSMC proliferation and neointimal hyperplasia. EZH2 inhibition might be a potential therapeutic target for restenosis.
Project description:Objective- Dysregulated proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) plays an essential role in neointimal hyperplasia. CD36 functions critically in atherogenesis and thrombosis. We hypothesize that CD36 regulates VSMC proliferation and contributes to the development of obstructive vascular diseases. Approach and Results- We found by immunofluorescent staining that CD36 was highly expressed in human vessels with obstructive diseases. Using guidewire-induced carotid artery injury and shear stress-induced intima thickening models, we compared neointimal hyperplasia in Apoe-/-, Cd36-/- /Apoe-/-, and CD36 specifically deleted in VSMC (VSMC cd36-/-) mice. CD36 deficiency, either global or VSMC-specific, dramatically reduced injury-induced neointimal thickening. Correspondingly, carotid artery blood flow was significantly increased in Cd36-/- /Apoe-/- compared with Apoe-/- mice. In cultured VSMCs from thoracic aorta of wild-type and Cd36-/- mice, we found that loss of CD36 significantly decreased serum-stimulated proliferation and increased cell populations in S phase, suggesting that CD36 is necessary for VSMC S/G2-M-phase transition. Treatment of VSMCs with a TSR (thrombospondin type 1 repeat) peptide significantly increased wild-type, but not Cd36-/- VSMC proliferation. TSR or serum treatment significantly increased cyclin A expression in wild-type, but not in Cd36-/- VSMCs. STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription), which reportedly enhances both VSMC differentiation and maturation, was higher in Cd36-/- VSMCs. CD36 deficiency significantly decreased expression of Col1A1 (type 1 collagen A1 chain) and TGF-?1 (transforming growth factor beta 1), and increased expression of contractile proteins, including calponin 1 and smooth muscle ? actin, and dramatically increased cell contraction. Conclusions- CD36 promotes VSMC proliferation via upregulation of cyclin A expression that contributes to the development of neointimal hyperplasia, collagen deposition, and obstructive vascular diseases.
Project description:RATIONALE:Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a metabolic and redox sensor, is reported to suppress cell proliferation of nonmalignant and tumor cells. Whether AMPK? alters vascular neointima formation induced by vascular injury is unknown. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to determine the roles of AMPK? in the development of vascular neointima hyperplasia and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. METHODS AND RESULTS:Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation and neointimal hyperplasia were evaluated in cultured VSMCs and wire-injured mouse carotid arteries from wild-type (WT, C57BL/6J), AMPK?2(-/-), and AMPK?1(-/-) mice. Mouse VSMCs derived from aortas of AMPK?2(-/-) mice exhibited increased proliferation compared with either WT or AMPK?1(-/-) VSMCs. Further, deletion of AMPK?2 but not AMPK?1 reduced the level of p27(Kip1), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, and increased the level of S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2), a known E3 ubiquitin ligase for p27(Kip1), through activation of p52 nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B)-2. Moreover, either pharmacological (ie, through compound C) or genetical (ie, through AMPK?2-specific siRNA) inhibition of AMPK decreased p27(Kip1) levels but increased the abundance of Skp2 in human VSMCs. Furthermore, gene silencing of Skp2 reversed the levels of p27(Kip1) and VSMCs proliferation. Finally, neointima formation after mechanical arterial injury was increased in AMPK?2(-/-) but not AMPK?1(-/-) mice. CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that deletion of AMPK?2 through p52-Skp2-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of p27(Kip1) accentuates neointimal hyperplasia in response to wire injury.
Project description:Vascular calcification is a complication of diseases and conditions such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and aging. Previous studies have demonstrated that high concentrations of inorganic phosphate (Pi) can induce oxidative stress and vascular smooth muscle cell calcification. KEAP1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1)/NF-E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) signaling has been shown to play important roles in protecting cells from oxidative stress. The current study aims to investigate the possible involvement of the KEAP1/NRF2/P62 -mediated antioxidant pathway in vascular calcification induced by high Pi levels. Exposure of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) to high Pi concentrations promoted the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the nuclear translocation of NRF2, along with an increase in P62 levels and a decrease in KEAP1 levels. A classic NRF2 activator, tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), significantly decreased ROS levels and calcium deposition in VSMCs by promoting the nuclear translocation of NRF2 and upregulating P62 and KEAP1 expression. In contrast, silencing NRF2 and P62 with siRNAs increased the levels of ROS and calcium deposition in VSMCs. In conclusion, VSMC calcification can be alleviated by the activation of the KEAP1/NRF2/P62 antioxidative pathway, which could have a protective role when it is exogenously activated by tBHQ.