PTEN deficiency promotes pathological vascular remodeling of human coronary arteries.
ABSTRACT: Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is an essential regulator of the differentiated vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype. Our goal was to establish that PTEN loss promotes SMC dedifferentiation and pathological vascular remodeling in human atherosclerotic coronary arteries and nonatherosclerotic coronary arteries exposed to continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs). Arteries were categorized as nonatherosclerotic hyperplasia (NAH), atherosclerotic hyperplasia (AH), or complex plaque (CP). NAH coronary arteries from CF-LVAD patients were compared to NAH coronaries from non-LVAD patients. Intimal PTEN and SMC contractile protein expression was reduced compared with the media in arteries with NAH, AH, or CP. Compared with NAH, PTEN and SMC contractile protein expression was reduced in the media and intima of arteries with AH and CP. NAH arteries from CF-LVAD patients showed marked vascular remodeling and reduced PTEN and ?-smooth muscle actin (?SMA) in medial SMCs compared with arteries from non-LVAD patients; this correlated with increased medial collagen deposition. Mechanistically, compared with ApoE-/- mice, SMC-specific PTEN-null/ApoE-/- double-knockout mice exhibited accelerated atherosclerosis progression and increased vascular fibrosis. By microarray and validated quantitative RT-PCR analysis, SMC PTEN deficiency promotes a global upregulation of proinflammatory and profibrotic genes. We propose that PTEN is an antiinflammatory, antifibrotic target that functions to maintain SMC differentiation. SMC loss of PTEN results in pathological vascular remodeling of human arteries.
Project description:Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is implicated as a negative regulator of vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and injury-induced vascular remodelling. We tested if selective depletion of PTEN only in SMC is sufficient to promote SMC phenotypic modulation, cytokine production, and enhanced neointima formation.Smooth muscle marker expression and induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines were compared in cultured SMC expressing control or PTEN-specific shRNA. Compared with controls, PTEN-deficient SMC exhibited increased phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kappaB) activity, reduced expression of SM markers (SM-alpha-actin and calponin), and increased production of stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha (SDF-1alpha), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 (KC/CXCL1) under basal conditions. PI3K/Akt or mTOR inhibition reversed repression of SM marker expression, whereas PI3K/Akt or NF-kappaB inhibition blocked cytokine induction mediated by PTEN depletion. Carotid ligation in mice with genetic reduction of PTEN specifically in SMC (SMC-specific PTEN heterozygotes) resulted in enhanced neointima formation, increased SMC hyperplasia, reduced SM-alpha-actin and calponin expression, and increased NF-kappaB and cytokine expression compared with wild-types. Lesion formation in SMC-specific heterozygotes was similar to lesion formation in global PTEN heterozygotes, indicating that inactivation of PTEN exclusively in SMC is sufficient to induce considerable increases in neointima formation.PTEN activation specifically in SMC is a common upstream regulator of multiple downstream events involved in pathological vascular remodelling, including proliferation, de-differentiation, and production of multiple cytokines.
Project description:PTEN inactivation selectively in smooth muscle cells (SMC) initiates multiple downstream events driving neointima formation, including SMC cytokine/chemokine production, in particular stromal cell-derived factor-1? (SDF-1?). We investigated the effects of SDF-1? on resident SMC and bone marrow-derived cells and in mediating neointima formation.Inducible, SMC-specific PTEN knockout mice (PTEN iKO) were bred to floxed-stop ROSA26-?-galactosidase (?Gal) mice to fate-map mature SMC in response to injury; mice received wild-type green fluorescent protein-labeled bone marrow to track recruitment. Following wire-induced femoral artery injury, ?Gal(+) SMC accumulated in the intima and adventitia. Compared with wild-type, PTEN iKO mice exhibited massive neointima formation, increased replicating intimal and medial ?Gal(+)SMC, and enhanced vascular recruitment of bone marrow cells following injury. Inhibiting SDF-1? blocked these events and reversed enhanced neointima formation observed in PTEN iKO mice. Most recruited green fluorescent protein(+) cells stained positive for macrophage markers but not SMC markers. SMC-macrophage interactions resulted in a persistent SMC inflammatory phenotype that was dependent on SMC PTEN and SDF-1? expression.Resident SMC play a multifaceted role in neointima formation by contributing the majority of neointimal cells, regulating recruitment of inflammatory cells, and contributing to adventitial remodeling. The SMC PTEN-SDF-1? axis is a critical regulator of these events.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In clinical practice, calcifications seen on computed tomographic studies within the large brain arteries are often referred to as a surrogate marker for cholesterol-mediated atherosclerosis. However, limited data exist to support the association between calcification and atherosclerosis. In this study, we examined if intracranial arterial calcifications were associated with cholesterol-mediated intracranial large artery atherosclerosis (ILAA) within the arteries of the circle of Willis in an autopsy-based sample. METHODS:We carried out a cross-sectional analysis of histopathological characteristics of brain large arteries obtained from autopsy cases. Brain large arteries were examined for evidences of calcifications, which were rated as macroscopic (coalescent) and microscopic (scattered). In addition to calcification, we also obtained measurement of the arterial wall and the presence of ILAA and nonatherosclerotic arterial fibrosis. We built hierarchical models adjusted for demographic and vascular risk factors to assess the relationship between calcification and ILAA. RESULTS:In univariate analysis, the presence of any arterial calcifications was associated with cerebral infarcts (29% vs. 14%, P<.01). Multivariate analysis revealed that among all calcifications, coalescent calcifications were not associated with ILAA. In contrast, scattered calcifications were associated with ILAA (P<.001), decreased lumen diameter (-1.87 +/- 0.41?mm, P?.001), and increased luminal stenosis (0.03% +/- 0.01%, P?.006). These findings were independent of age, sex, or other vascular risk factors. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates that coalescent calcifications in brain large arteries, although associated with morbidity, are not synonymous with cholesterol-driven ILAA. Understanding the precise pathological components of cerebrovascular disease, including nonatherosclerotic arterial calcifications, will help develop individualized therapies beyond amelioration of traditional risk factors such as hyperlipidemia.
Project description:Vascular calcification is a characteristic feature of atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and end-stage renal disease. We have demonstrated that activation of protein kinase B (AKT) upregulates runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), a key osteogenic transcription factor that is crucial for calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Using mice with SMC-specific deletion of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), a major negative regulator of AKT, the present studies uncovered a novel molecular mechanism underlying PTEN/AKT/FOXO (forkhead box O)-mediated Runx2 upregulation and VSMC calcification.SMC-specific PTEN deletion mice were generated by crossing PTEN floxed mice with SM22?-Cre transgenic mice. The PTEN deletion resulted in sustained activation of AKT that upregulated Runx2 and promoted VSMC calcification in vitro and arterial calcification ex vivo. Runx2 knockdown did not affect proliferation but blocked calcification of the PTEN-deficient VSMC, suggesting that PTEN deletion promotes Runx2-depedent VSMC calcification that is independent of proliferation. At the molecular level, PTEN deficiency increased the amount of Runx2 post-transcriptionally by inhibiting Runx2 ubiquitination. AKT activation increased phosphorylation of FOXO1/3 that led to nuclear exclusion of FOXO1/3. FOXO1/3 knockdown in VSMC phenocopied the PTEN deficiency, demonstrating a novel function of FOXO1/3, as a downstream signaling of PTEN/AKT, in regulating Runx2 ubiquitination and VSMC calcification. Using heterozygous SMC-specific PTEN-deficient mice and atherogenic ApoE(-/-) mice, we further demonstrated AKT activation, FOXO phosphorylation, and Runx2 ubiquitination in vascular calcification in vivo.Our studies have determined a new causative effect of SMC-specific PTEN deficiency on vascular calcification and demonstrated that FOXO1/3 plays a crucial role in PTEN/AKT-modulated Runx2 ubiquitination and VSMC calcification.
Project description:Vascular disease progression is associated with marked changes in vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype and function. SMC contractile gene expression and, thus differentiation, is under direct transcriptional control by the transcription factor, serum response factor (SRF); however, the mechanisms dynamically regulating SMC phenotype are not fully defined. Here we report that the lipid and protein phosphatase, PTEN, has a novel role in the nucleus by functioning as an indispensible regulator with SRF to maintain the differentiated SM phenotype. PTEN interacts with the N-terminal domain of SRF and PTEN-SRF interaction promotes SRF binding to essential promoter elements in SM-specific genes. Factors inducing phenotypic switching promote loss of nuclear PTEN through nucleo-cytoplasmic translocation resulting in reduced myogenically active SRF, but enhanced SRF activity on target genes involved in proliferation. Overall decreased expression of PTEN was observed in intimal SMCs of human atherosclerotic lesions underlying the potential clinical importance of these findings.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) contribute to neointima formation after vascular injury. Although ?-catenin expression is induced after injury, whether its function is essential in SMCs for neointimal growth is unknown. Moreover, although inhibitors of ?-catenin have been developed, their effects on SMC growth have not been tested. We assessed the requirement for SMC ?-catenin in short-term vascular homeostasis and in response to arterial injury and investigated the effects of ?-catenin inhibitors on vascular SMC growth. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We used an inducible, conditional genetic deletion of ?-catenin in SMCs of adult mice. Uninjured arteries from adult mice lacking SMC ?-catenin were indistinguishable from controls in terms of structure and SMC marker gene expression. After carotid artery ligation, however, vessels from mice lacking SMC ?-catenin developed smaller neointimas, with lower neointimal cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. SMCs lacking ?-catenin showed decreased mRNA expression of Mmp2, Mmp9, Sphk1, and S1pr1 (genes that promote neointima formation), higher levels of Jag1 and Gja1 (genes that inhibit neointima formation), decreased Mmp2 protein expression and secretion, and reduced cell invasion in vitro. Moreover, ?-catenin inhibitors PKF118-310 and ICG-001 limited growth of mouse and human vascular SMCs in a dose-dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS:SMC ?-catenin is dispensable for maintenance of the structure and state of differentiation of uninjured adult arteries, but is required for neointima formation after vascular injury. Pharmacological ?-catenin inhibitors hinder growth of human vascular SMCs. Thus, inhibiting ?-catenin has potential as a therapy to limit SMC accumulation and vascular obstruction.
Project description:Previous studies have confirmed Slug as a key player in regulating phenotypic changes in several cell models, however, its role in smooth muscle cells (SMC) has never been assessed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression of Slug during the phenotypic switch of SMC in vitro and throughout the development of vascular remodeling.Slug expression was decreased during both cell-to-cell contact and TGF?1 induced SMC differentiation. Tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF?), a known inductor of a proliferative/dedifferentiated SMC phenotype, induces the expression of Slug in SMC. Slug knockdown blocked TNF?-induced SMC phenotypic change and significantly reduced both SMC proliferation and migration, while its overexpression blocked the TGF?1-induced SMC differentiation and induced proliferation and migration. Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis showed that in SMC, Slug knockdown induced changes mainly in genes related to proliferation and migration, indicating that Slug controls these processes in SMC. Notably, Slug expression was significantly up-regulated in lungs of mice using a model of pulmonary hypertension-related vascular remodeling. Highly remodeled human pulmonary arteries also showed an increase of Slug expression compared to less remodeled arteries.Slug emerges as a key transcription factor driving SMC towards a proliferative phenotype. The increased Slug expression observed in vivo in highly remodeled arteries of mice and human suggests a role of Slug in the pathogenesis of pulmonary vascular diseases.
Project description:We hypothesized that redox-mediated apoptosis of medial smooth muscle cells (SMC) during the acute phase of vascular injury contributes to the pathophysiology of vascular disease.Apoptosis of medial SMC (1-14 days following balloon injury) was identified in rat carotid arteries by in situ DNA labeling. NADPH-derived superoxide and expression of Bcl-xL, Bax, caspase-3 and caspase-9 were assessed. The antioxidant tempol was administered in drinking water throughout the experimental period, and local adenoviral-mediated gene transfer of eNOS was performed prior to vascular injury.Balloon injury increased NADPH-dependent superoxide production, medial SMC apoptosis, Bax-positive medial SMC index, Bax/Bcl-xL ratio, and caspase-3 and caspase-9 expression in the injured arteries. Treatment with tempol or eNOS gene transfer decreased superoxide levels and medial SMC apoptosis, with a concomitant increase in medial SMC density. Inhibition of superoxide was associated with a decreased Bax/Bcl-xL ratio, and caspase-3 and -9 expression. Tempol treatment and eNOS gene therapy significantly reduced neointima formation.Vascular generation of reactive oxygen species participates in Bax activation and medial SMC apoptosis. These effects likely contribute to the shedding of cell-cell adhesion molecules and promote medial SMC migration and proliferation responsible for neointimal hyperplasia.
Project description:Autophagy is recently implicated in regulating vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of vascular remodeling. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a master regulator of autophagy signaling pathways. However, the molecular mechanisms and functional roles of TFEB in SMC homeostasis have not been elucidated. Here, we surveyed the ability of TFEB to regulate autophagy pathway in SMCs, and whether pharmacological activation of TFEB favors SMC homeostasis preventing dedifferentiation and pathogenic vascular remodeling. In primary cultured SMCs, TFEB activator trehalose induced nuclear translocation of TFEB and upregulation of TFEB-controlled autophagy genes leading to enhanced autophagy signaling. Moreover, trehalose suppressed serum-induced SMC dedifferentiation to synthetic phenotypes as characterized by inhibited proliferation and migration. These effects of trehalose were mimicked by ectopic upregulation of TFEB and inhibited by TFEB gene silencing. In animal experiments, partial ligation of carotid arteries induced downregulation of TFEB pathway in the media layer of these arteries. Such TFEB suppression was correlated with increased SMC dedifferentiation and aggravated high-fat diet (HFD)-induced neointima formation. Treatment of mice with trehalose reversed this TFEB pathway suppression, and prevented SMC dedifferentiation and HFD-induced neointima formation. In conclusion, our findings have identified TFEB as a novel positive regulator for autophagy pathway and cellular homeostasis in SMCs. Our data suggest that suppression of TFEB may be an initiating mechanism that promotes SMC dedifferentiation leading to accelerated neointima formation in vascular disorders associated with metabolic stress, whereas trehalose reverses these changes. These findings warrant further evaluation of trehalose in the clinical settings.
Project description:Fibromuscular dysplasia is a rare, nonatherosclerotic, noninflammatory vascular disease that typically affects women between the ages of 20 and 60 years. Although any artery can be affected, fibromuscular dysplasia most commonly affects the renal and carotid arteries. Fibromuscular dysplasia of the renal arteries usually presents with hypertension, while carotid or vertebral artery disease causes transient ischemic attacks, strokes, or dissection. Fibromuscular dysplasia of the brachial arteries is extremely uncommon. It can induce extremity ischemia, nerve compression, or both-causing coldness, discoloration, pain, ulceration or gangrene of the fingers, paresthesias, or paralysis. We report a rare case of multivessel fibromuscular dysplasia manifested by acute stroke in association with type I aortic dissection, which progressed rapidly to ascending aortic false aneurysmal development that necessitated arch replacement. Outcomes of aortic arch replacement in this setting are currently unknown. Therefore, our case might well offer some insight.