Senescent intimal foam cells are deleterious at all stages of atherosclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Advanced atherosclerotic lesions contain senescent cells, but the role of these cells in atherogenesis remains unclear. Using transgenic and pharmacological approaches to eliminate senescent cells in atherosclerosis-prone low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr-/-) mice, we show that these cells are detrimental throughout disease pathogenesis. We find that foamy macrophages with senescence markers accumulate in the subendothelial space at the onset of atherosclerosis, where they drive pathology by increasing expression of key atherogenic and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. In advanced lesions, senescent cells promote features of plaque instability, including elastic fiber degradation and fibrous cap thinning, by heightening metalloprotease production. Together, these results demonstrate that senescent cells are key drivers of atheroma formation and maturation and suggest that selective clearance of these cells by senolytic agents holds promise for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Project description:The main cause of arteriosclerosis is atherosclerosis in the aorta. Atherosclerosis is recognized as a chronic inflammatory condition that begins with the dysfunction or activation of arterial endothelium. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and especially its oxidized form play a key role in endothelial dysfunction and atherogenesis. Recent studies showed that senescent cells are involved in the development and progression of atherosclerosis, and eliminating senescent cells suppresses the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. We previously reported that molecular hydrogen-rich water (HW) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in numerous diseases. Here, we used LDL receptor-deficient mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 13 weeks as a model for atherosclerosis and evaluated the effects of continuous administration of HW. The numbers of endothelial cells in the atheroma expressing the senescence factors p16INK4a and p21 decreased in HFD-fed mice given HW compared with HFD-fed mice given control water. Furthermore, macrophage infiltration and Tnf? expression in the atheroma were also suppressed. These results suggest that vascular aging can be suppressed by HW.
Project description:Clearing senescent cells extends healthspan in mice. Using a hypothesis-driven bioinformatics-based approach, we recently identified pro-survival pathways in human senescent cells that contribute to their resistance to apoptosis. This led to identification of dasatinib (D) and quercetin (Q) as senolytics, agents that target some of these pathways and induce apoptosis preferentially in senescent cells. Among other pro-survival regulators identified was Bcl-xl. Here, we tested whether the Bcl-2 family inhibitors, navitoclax (N) and TW-37 (T), are senolytic. Like D and Q, N is senolytic in some, but not all types of senescent cells: N reduced viability of senescent human umbilical vein epithelial cells (HUVECs), IMR90 human lung fibroblasts, and murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), but not human primary preadipocytes, consistent with our previous finding that Bcl-xl siRNA is senolytic in HUVECs, but not preadipocytes. In contrast, T had little senolytic activity. N targets Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Bcl-w, while T targets Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Mcl-1. The combination of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Bcl-w siRNAs was senolytic in HUVECs and IMR90 cells, while combination of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Mcl-1 siRNAs was not. Susceptibility to N correlated with patterns of Bcl-2 family member proteins in different types of human senescent cells, as has been found in predicting response of cancers to N. Thus, N is senolytic and acts in a potentially predictable cell type-restricted manner. The hypothesis-driven, bioinformatics-based approach we used to discover that dasatinib (D) and quercetin (Q) are senolytic can be extended to increase the repertoire of senolytic drugs, including additional cell type-specific senolytic agents.
Project description:Autophagy dysfunction in mouse atherosclerosis models has been associated with increased lipid accumulation, apoptosis and inflammation. Expression of cystatin C (CysC) is decreased in human atheroma, and CysC deficiency enhances atherosclerosis in mice. Here, we first investigated the association of autophagy and CysC expression levels with atheroma plaque severity in human atherosclerotic lesions. We found that autophagy proteins Atg5 and LC3? in advanced human carotid atherosclerotic lesions are decreased, while markers of dysfunctional autophagy p62/SQSTM1 and ubiquitin are increased together with elevated levels of lipid accumulation and apoptosis. The expressions of LC3? and Atg5 were positively associated with CysC expression. Second, we investigated whether CysC expression is involved in autophagy in atherosclerotic apoE-deficient mice, demonstrating that CysC deficiency (CysC(-/-) ) in these mice results in reduction of Atg5 and LC3? levels and induction of apoptosis. Third, macrophages isolated from CysC(-/-) mice displayed increased levels of p62/SQSTM1 and higher sensitivity to 7-oxysterol-mediated lysosomal membrane destabilization and apoptosis. Finally, CysC treatment minimized oxysterol-mediated cellular lipid accumulation. We conclude that autophagy dysfunction is a characteristic of advanced human atherosclerotic lesions and is associated with reduced levels of CysC. The deficiency of CysC causes autophagy dysfunction and apoptosis in macrophages and apoE-deficient mice. The results indicate that CysC plays an important regulatory role in combating cell death via the autophagic pathway in atherosclerosis.
Project description:Background:The benefit of inducing cellular senescence as a tumor suppressive strategy remains questionable due to the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Hence, studies and development of senolytic compounds that induce cell death in senescent cells have recently emerged. Senescent cells are hypothesized to exhibit different upregulated pro-survival/anti-apoptotic networks depending on the senescent inducers. This might limit the effect of a particular senolytic compound that targets rather only a specific pathway. Interestingly, cellular senescence in prostate cancer (PCa) cells can be induced by either androgen receptor (AR) agonists at supraphysiological androgen level (SAL) used in bipolar androgen therapy or by AR antagonists. This challenges to define ligand-specific senolytic compounds. Results:Here, we first induced cellular senescence by treating androgen-sensitive PCa LNCaP cells with either SAL or the AR antagonist Enzalutamide (ENZ). Subsequently, cells were incubated with the HSP90 inhibitor Ganetespib (GT), the Bcl-2 family inhibitor ABT263, or the Akt inhibitor MK2206 to analyze senolysis. GT and ABT263 are known senolytic compounds. We observed that GT exhibits senolytic activity specifically in SAL-pretreated PCa cells. Mechanistically, GT treatment results in reduction of AR, Akt, and phospho-S6 (p-S6) protein levels. Surprisingly, ABT263 lacks senolytic effect in both AR agonist- and antagonist-pretreated cells. ABT263 treatment does not affect AR, Akt, or S6 protein levels. Treatment with MK2206 does not reduce AR protein level and, as expected, potently inhibits Akt phosphorylation. However, ENZ-induced cellular senescent cells undergo apoptosis by MK2206, whereas SAL-treated cells are resistant. In line with this, we reveal that the pro-survival p-S6 level is higher in SAL-induced cellular senescent PCa cells compared to ENZ-treated cells. These data indicate a difference in the agonist- or antagonist-induced cellular senescence and suggest a novel role of MK2206 as a senolytic agent preferentially for AR antagonist-treated cells. Conclusion:Taken together, our data suggest that both AR agonist and antagonist induce cellular senescence but differentially upregulate a pro-survival signaling which preferentially sensitize androgen-sensitive PCa LNCaP cells to a specific senolytic compound.
Project description:The selective removal of senescent cells by senolytics is suggested as a potential approach to reverse aging and extend lifespan. Using high-throughput screening with replicative senescence of human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs), we identified a novel senolytic drug R406 that showed selective toxicity in senescent cells. Using flow cytometry and caspase expression analysis, we confirmed that R406 caused apoptotic cell death along with morphological changes in senescent cells. Interestingly, R406 altered the cell survival-related molecular processes including the inhibition of phosphorylation of the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in senescent cells. This pattern was not observed in other known senolytic agent ABT263. Correspondingly, apoptotic cell death in senescent cells was induced by simultaneously blocking the FAK and p38 pathways. Taken together, we suggest that R406 acts as a senolytic drug by inducing apoptosis and reducing cell attachment capacity.
Project description:Cardiovascular disease linked to atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death worldwide. Atherosclerosis is mainly linked to dysfunction in vascular endothelial cells and subendothelial accumulation of oxidized forms of LDL. In the present study, we investigated the role of myeloperoxidase oxidized LDL (Mox-LDL) in endothelial cell dysfunction. We studied the effect of proinflammatory Mox-LDL treatment on endothelial cell motility, a parameter essential for normal vascular processes such as angiogenesis and blood vessel repair. This is particularly important in the context of an atheroma plaque, where vascular wall integrity is affected and interference with its repair could contribute to progression of the disease. We investigated in vitro the effect of Mox-LDL on endothelial cells angiogenic properties and we also studied the signalling pathways that could be affected by analysing Mox-LDL effect on the expression of angiogenesis-related genes. We report that Mox-LDL inhibits endothelial cell motility and tubulogenesis through an increase in miR-22 and heme oxygenase 1 expression. Our in vitro data indicate that Mox-LDL interferes with parameters associated with angiogenesis. They suggest that high LDL levels in patients would impair their endothelial cell capacity to cope with a damaged endothelium contributing negatively to the progression of the atheroma plaque.
Project description:Senescent cells are present in premalignant lesions and sites of tissue damage and accumulate in tissues with age. In vivo identification, quantification and characterization of senescent cells are challenging tasks that limit our understanding of the role of senescent cells in diseases and aging. Here, we present a new way to precisely quantify and identify senescent cells in tissues on a single-cell basis. The method combines a senescence-associated beta-galactosidase assay with staining of molecular markers for cellular senescence and of cellular identity. By utilizing technology that combines flow cytometry with high-content image analysis, we were able to quantify senescent cells in tumors, fibrotic tissues, and tissues of aged mice. Our approach also yielded the finding that senescent cells in tissues of aged mice are larger than nonsenescent cells. Thus, this method provides a basis for quantitative assessment of senescent cells and it offers proof of principle for combination of different markers of senescence. It paves the way for screening of senescent cells for identification of new senescence biomarkers, genes that bypass senescence or senolytic compounds that eliminate senescent cells, thus enabling a deeper understanding of the senescent state in vivo.
Project description:We aimed to develop a quantitative antibody-based near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) approach for the imaging of oxidized LDL in atherosclerosis. LO1, a well- characterized monoclonal autoantibody that reacts with malondialdehyde-conjugated LDL, was labeled with a NIRF dye to yield LO1-750. LO1-750 specifically identified necrotic core in ex vivo human coronary lesions. Injection of LO1-750 into high fat (HF) fed atherosclerotic Ldlr(-/-) mice led to specific focal localization within the aortic arch and its branches, as detected by fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT) combined with micro-computed tomography (CT). Ex vivo confocal microscopy confirmed LO1-750 subendothelial localization of LO1-750 at sites of atherosclerosis, in the vicinity of macrophages. When compared with a NIRF reporter of MMP activity (MMPSense-645-FAST), both probes produced statistically significant increases in NIRF signal in the Ldlr(-/-) model in relation to duration of HF diet. Upon withdrawing the HF diet, the reduction in oxLDL accumulation, as demonstrated with LO1-750, was less marked than the effect seen on MMP activity. In the rabbit, in vivo injected LO1-750 localization was successfully imaged ex vivo in aortic lesions with a customised intra-arterial NIRF detection catheter. A partially humanized chimeric LO1-Fab-Cys localized similarly to the parent antibody in murine atheroma showing promise for future translation.
Project description:Aging is the major predictor for developing multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) other dementias, and Parkinson's disease (PD). Senescent cells, which can drive aging phenotypes, accumulate at etiological sites of many age-related chronic diseases. These cells are resistant to apoptosis and can cause local and systemic dysfunction. Decreasing senescent cell abundance using senolytic drugs, agents that selectively target these cells, alleviates neurodegenerative diseases in preclinical models. In this review, we consider roles of senescent cells in neurodegenerative diseases and potential implications of senolytic agents as an innovative treatment.
Project description:Pharmacologically active compounds with preferential cytotoxic activity for senescent cells, known as senolytics, can ameliorate or even revert pathological manifestations of senescence in numerous preclinical mouse disease models, including cancer models. However, translation of senolytic therapies to human disease is hampered by their suboptimal specificity for senescent cells and important toxicities that narrow their therapeutic windows. We have previously shown that the high levels of senescence-associated lysosomal ?-galactosidase (SA-?-gal) found within senescent cells can be exploited to specifically release tracers and cytotoxic cargoes from galactose-encapsulated nanoparticles within these cells. Here, we show that galacto-conjugation of the BCL-2 family inhibitor Navitoclax results in a potent senolytic prodrug (Nav-Gal), that can be preferentially activated by SA-?-gal activity in a wide range of cell types. Nav-Gal selectively induces senescent cell apoptosis and has a higher senolytic index than Navitoclax (through reduced activation in nonsenescent cells). Nav-Gal enhances the cytotoxicity of standard senescence-inducing chemotherapy (cisplatin) in human A549 lung cancer cells. Concomitant treatment with cisplatin and Nav-Gal in vivo results in the eradication of senescent lung cancer cells and significantly reduces tumour growth. Importantly, galacto-conjugation reduces Navitoclax-induced platelet apoptosis in human and murine blood samples treated ex vivo, and thrombocytopenia at therapeutically effective concentrations in murine lung cancer models. Taken together, we provide a potentially versatile strategy for generating effective senolytic prodrugs with reduced toxicities.