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1.  Accelerated Atherosclerosis in Apoe−/− Mice Heterozygous for the Insulin Receptor and the Insulin Receptor Substrate-1 
Prediabetic states are associated with accelerated atherosclerosis, but the availability of mouse models to study connections between these diseases has been limited. The aim of this study was to test the selective role of impaired insulin receptor/insulin receptor substrate-1 signaling on atherogenesis.
Methods and Results
To address the effects of impaired insulin signaling associated with hyperinsulinemia on atherosclerosis in the absence of obesity and hyperglycemia, we generated insulin receptor (Insr)/insulin receptor substrate-1 (Insr1) double heterozygous apolipoprotein (Apoe)-knockout mice (Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/−) mice. Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− mice fed a Western diet for 15 weeks showed elevated levels of fasting insulin compared to Insr+/+Irs1+/+Apoe−/− mice. There were no significant differences in glucose, triglyceride, HDL, VLDL, cholesterol levels or free fatty acid in the plasma of Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− and Insr+/+Irs1+/+Apoe−/− mice. Atherosclerotic lesions were increased in male (brachiocephalic artery) and female (aortic tree) Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− compared to Insr+/+Irs1+/+Apoe−/− mice. Bone marrow transfer experiments demonstrated that nonhematopoietic cells have to be Insr+/−Irs1+/− to accelerate atherosclerosis. Impaired insulin signaling resulted in decreased levels of vascular phospho-eNOS, attenuated endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and elevated VCAM-1 expression in aortas of Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− mice. In addition, phospho-ERK and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation were significantly elevated in aortas of Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− mice.
These results demonstrate that defective insulin signaling is involved in accelerated atherosclerosis in Insr+/−Irs1+/−Apoe−/− mice by promoting vascular dysfunction and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3676303  PMID: 22199371
atherosclerosis; insulin resistance; leukocytes; vascular biology
2.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Endothelial Adhesion Molecules in Mouse Atherosclerosis Using Dual-Targeted Microparticles of Iron Oxide 
Microparticles of iron oxide (MPIO) distort magnetic field creating marked contrast effects far exceeding their physical size. We hypothesized that antibody-conjugated MPIO would enable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of endothelial cell adhesion molecules in mouse atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
MPIO (4.5 μm) were conjugated to monoclonal antibodies against vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM–MPIO) or P-selectin (P-selectin–MPIO). In vitro, VCAM–MPIO bound, in dose-dependent manner, to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α stimulated sEND-1 endothelial cells, as quantified by light microscopy (R2=0.94, P=0.03) and by MRI (R2=0.98, P=0.01). VCAM–MPIO binding was blocked by preincubation with soluble VCAM-1. To mimic leukocyte binding, MPIO targeting both VCAM-1 and P-selectin were administered in apolipoprotein E–/– mice. By light microscopy, dual-targeted MPIO binding to endothelium overlying aortic root atherosclerosis was 5- to 7-fold more than P-selectin–MPIO (P<0.05) or VCAM–MPIO (P<0.01) alone. Dual-targeted MPIO, injected intravenously in vivo bound aortic root endothelium and were quantifiable by MRI ex vivo (3.5-fold increase versus control; P<0.01). MPIO were well-tolerated in vivo, with sequestration in the spleen after 24 hours.
Dual-ligand MPIO bound to endothelium over atherosclerosis in vivo, under flow conditions. MPIO may provide a functional MRI probe for detecting endothelial-specific markers in a range of vascular pathologies.
PMCID: PMC3481783  PMID: 17962629
3.  APPL1 Counteracts Obesity-Induced Vascular Insulin Resistance and Endothelial Dysfunction by Modulating the Endothelial Production of Nitric Oxide and Endothelin-1 in Mice 
Diabetes  2011;60(11):3044-3054.
Insulin stimulates both nitric oxide (NO)-dependent vasodilation and endothelin-1 (ET-1)–dependent vasoconstriction. However, the cellular mechanisms that control the dual vascular effects of insulin remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the roles of the multidomain adaptor protein APPL1 in modulating vascular actions of insulin in mice and in endothelial cells.
Both APPL1 knockout mice and APPL1 transgenic mice were generated to evaluate APPL1’s physiological roles in regulating vascular reactivity and insulin signaling in endothelial cells.
Insulin potently induced NO-dependent relaxations in mesenteric arteries of 8-week-old mice, whereas this effect of insulin was progressively impaired with ageing or upon development of obesity induced by high-fat diet. Transgenic expression of APPL1 prevented age- and obesity-induced impairment in insulin-induced vasodilation and reversed obesity-induced augmentation in insulin-evoked ET-1–dependent vasoconstriction. By contrast, genetic disruption of APPL1 shifted the effects of insulin from vasodilation to vasoconstriction. At the molecular level, insulin-elicited activation of protein kinase B (Akt) and endothelial NO synthase and production of NO were enhanced in APPL1 transgenic mice but were abrogated in APPL1 knockout mice. Conversely, insulin-induced extracellular signal–related kinase (ERK)1/2 phosphorylation and ET-1 expression was augmented in APPL1 knockout mice but was diminished in APPL1 transgenic mice. In endothelial cells, APPL1 potentiated insulin-stimulated Akt activation by competing with the Akt inhibitor Tribbles 3 (TRB3) and suppressed ERK1/2 signaling by altering the phosphorylation status of its upstream kinase Raf-1.
APPL1 plays a key role in coordinating the vasodilator and vasoconstrictor effects of insulin by modulating Akt-dependent NO production and ERK1/2-mediated ET-1 secretion in the endothelium.
PMCID: PMC3198090  PMID: 21926268
4.  Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression and Signaling During Disease: Regulation by Reactive Oxygen Species and Antioxidants 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;15(6):1607-1638.
The endothelium is immunoregulatory in that inhibiting the function of vascular adhesion molecules blocks leukocyte recruitment and thus tissue inflammation. The function of endothelial cells during leukocyte recruitment is regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants. In inflammatory sites and lymph nodes, the endothelium is stimulated to express adhesion molecules that mediate leukocyte binding. Upon leukocyte binding, these adhesion molecules activate endothelial cell signal transduction that then alters endothelial cell shape for the opening of passageways through which leukocytes can migrate. If the stimulation of this opening is blocked, inflammation is blocked. In this review, we focus on the endothelial cell adhesion molecule, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). Expression of VCAM-1 is induced on endothelial cells during inflammatory diseases by several mediators, including ROS. Then, VCAM-1 on the endothelium functions as both a scaffold for leukocyte migration and a trigger of endothelial signaling through NADPH oxidase-generated ROS. These ROS induce signals for the opening of intercellular passageways through which leukocytes migrate. In several inflammatory diseases, inflammation is blocked by inhibition of leukocyte binding to VCAM-1 or by inhibition of VCAM-1 signal transduction. VCAM-1 signal transduction and VCAM-1-dependent inflammation are blocked by antioxidants. Thus, VCAM-1 signaling is a target for intervention by pharmacological agents and by antioxidants during inflammatory diseases. This review discusses ROS and antioxidant functions during activation of VCAM-1 expression and VCAM-1 signaling in inflammatory diseases. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1607–1638.
I. Introduction to Leukocyte Recruitment
II. VCAM-1 Regulation of Leukocyte Recruitment and Inflammation in Several Diseases
A. VCAM-1 expression and shedding
B. VCAM-1 function in the bone marrow and lymph nodes
C. VCAM-1 regulation of inflammatory diseases: treatment of clinical disease with natalizumab
D. VCAM-1 regulation of inflammation during infection
E. VCAM-1 function in cardiovascular diseases
III. VCAM-1 Structure/Function
A. VCAM-1 structure
B. Ligands and VCAM-1 binding regions
C. VCAM-1 is a part of the tetraspanin-enriched microdomains
D. VCAM-1 in apical cup-like structures
E. Cytoplasmic domain of VCAM-1
IV. Overview of a Model for VCAM-1 Signaling
A. Model of VCAM-1 signaling through ROS
B. Cell models for VCAM-1 signals
V. VCAM-1 Signals Through ROS During Leukocyte Transmigration
A. VCAM-1 activates calcium fluxes, Rac1, and Gαi
B. VCAM-1 activation of endothelial cell NOX2 during leukocyte transmigration
1. VCAM-1 activates NOX2
2. VCAM-1 signals through NOX2 mediate VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte transmigration
3. VCAM-1-induced NOX2 generates low concentrations of ROS with specific signals that are distinct from signals by high levels of ROS
C. VCAM-1 signals through NOX2 modify endothelial cell actin polymerization and intercellular gap formation
D. VCAM-1-induced ROS activate MMPs
1. Rapid activation of endothelial cell-associated MMPs
2. Delayed activation of lymphocyte-associated MMPs
3. The antioxidant bilirubin inhibits VCAM-1-induced MMP activation
E. VCAM-1 signals oxidize and activate PKCα
F. VCAM-induced PKC activates PTP1B
VI. VCAM-1 Signals in In Vivo Models
A. Gαi2 regulation of VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte recruitment in vivo
B. NOX2 regulation of VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte recruitment in vivo
VII. Antioxidant Regulation of VCAM-1 Signals in In Vivo Models
A. The antioxidant bilirubin inhibits VCAM-1-dependent inflammation
B. Vitamin E regulation of VCAM-1-dependent inflammation
1. Introduction to vitamin E isoforms
2. Vitamin E isoforms regulate VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte transmigration through antioxidant and nonantioxidant mechanisms
3. Vitamin E isoform-specific regulation of leukocyte recruitment in vivo
C. Reinterpretation of reports on vitamin E regulation of inflammation in experimental models
VII. Clinical Implications for Vitamin E Regulation of Inflammation Involving VCAM-1
IX. Concluding Remarks
PMCID: PMC3151426  PMID: 21050132
5.  Molecular Imaging of Activated von Willebrand Factor to Detect High-Risk Atherosclerotic Phenotype 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2010;3(9):947-955.
We hypothesized that noninvasive molecular imaging of activated von Willebrand factor (vWF) on the vascular endothelium could be used to detect a high-risk atherosclerotic phenotype.
Platelet-endothelial interactions have been linked to increased inflammatory activation and prothrombotic state in atherosclerosis. These interactions are mediated, in part, by platelet glycoprotein (GP) Ibα, suggesting that dysregulated endothelial vWF is a marker for high-risk atherosclerotic disease.
Microbubbles targeted to activated vWF were prepared by surface conjugation of recombinant GPIbα. Flow-chamber studies were used to evaluate attachment of targeted microbubbles to immobile platelet aggregates bearing activated vWF. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEU) molecular imaging of the aorta from mice was performed: 1) ex vivo after focal crush injury and blood perfusion; and 2) in vivo in mice with advanced atherosclerosis produced by deletion of the low-density lipoprotein receptor and ApoBec-1 editing peptide (LDLR−/−/ApoBec-1−/−).
In flow-chamber studies, tracer attachment to vWF was >10-fold greater for microbubbles bearing GPIbα compared with control microbubbles (p < 0.01). In the ex vivo aortic injury model, CEU signal enhancement for vWF-targeted microbubbles occurred primarily at the injury site and was 4-fold greater than at noninjured sites (p < 0.05). In LDLR−/−/ApoBec-1−/− mice, inflammatory cell infiltrates and dense vWF expression on the intact endothelium were seen in regions of severe plaque formation. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated widespread platelet-endothelial interaction and only few sites of endothelial erosion. On CEU, signal enhancement for vWF-targeted microbubbles was approximately 4-fold greater (p < 0.05) in LDLR−/−/ApoBec-1−/− compared with wild-type mice. En face aortic microscopy demonstrated regions where platelet adhesion and microbubble attachment colocalized.
Molecular imaging using GPIbα as a targeting moiety can detect the presence of activated vWF on the vascular endothelium. This strategy may provide a means to noninvasively detect an advanced prothrombotic and inflammatory phenotype in atherosclerotic disease.
PMCID: PMC3204804  PMID: 20846630
atherosclerosis; microbubble; molecular imaging; von Willebrand factor
6.  Noninvasive Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of the Effect of Statins on Endothelial Inflammatory Phenotype in Early Atherosclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58761.
Inflammatory changes on the endothelium are responsible for leukocyte recruitment to plaques in atherosclerosis. Noninvasive assessment of treatment-effects on endothelial inflammation may be of use for managing medical therapy and developing novel therapies. We hypothesized that molecular imaging of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) with contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEU) could assess treatment effects on endothelial phenotype in early atherosclerosis.
Mice with atherosclerosis produced by gene deletion of the LDL-receptor and Apobec-1-editing protein were studied. At 12 weeks of age, mice received 8 weeks of regular chow or atorvastatin-enriched chow (10 mg/kg/day). At 20 weeks, CEU molecular imaging for aortic endothelial VCAM-1 expression was performed with VCAM-1-targeted (MBVCAM) and control microbubbles (MBCtr). Aortic wall thickness was assessed with high frequency ultrasound. Histology, immunohistology and Western blot were used to assess plaque burden and VCAM-1 expression.
Plaque burden was reduced on histology, and VCAM-1 was reduced on Western blot by atorvastatin, which corresponded to less endothelial expression of VCAM-1 on immunohistology. High frequency ultrasound did not detect differences in aortic wall thickness between groups. In contrast, CEU molecular imaging demonstrated selective signal enhancement for MBVCAM in non-treated animals (MBVCAM 2±0.3 vs MBCtr 0.7±0.2, p<0.01), but not in statin-treated animals (MBVCAM 0.8±0.2 vs MBCtr 1.0±0.2, p = ns; p<0.01 for the effect of statin on MBVCAM signal).
Non-invasive CEU molecular imaging detects the effects of anti-inflammatory treatment on endothelial inflammation in early atherosclerosis. This easily accessible, low-cost technique may be useful in assessing treatment effects in preclinical research and in patients.
PMCID: PMC3598944  PMID: 23554922
7.  Systemic Delivery of MicroRNA-181b Inhibits Nuclear Factor-κB Activation, Vascular Inflammation, and Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E–Deficient Mice 
Circulation research  2013;114(1):32-40.
Activated nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling in the vascular endothelium promotes the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Targeting endothelial NF-κB may provide a novel strategy to limit chronic inflammation.
To examine the role of microRNA-181b (miR-181b) in endothelial NF-κB signaling and effects on atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
MiR-181b expression was reduced in the aortic intima and plasma in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice fed a high-fat diet. Correspondingly, circulating miR-181b in the plasma was markedly reduced in human subjects with coronary artery disease. Systemic delivery of miR-181b resulted in a 2.3-fold overexpression of miR-181b in the aortic intima of apolipoprotein E–deficient mice and suppressed NF-κB signaling revealed by bioluminescence imaging and reduced target gene expression in the aortic arch in apolipoprotein E–deficient/NF-κB-luciferase transgenic mice. MiR-181b significantly inhibited atherosclerotic lesion formation, proinflammatory gene expression and the influx of lesional macrophages and CD4+ T cells in the vessel wall. Mechanistically, miR-181b inhibited the expression of the target gene importin-α3, an effect that reduced NF-κB nuclear translocation specifically in the vascular endothelium of lesions, whereas surprisingly leukocyte NF-κB signaling was unaffected despite a 7-fold overexpression of miR-181b. Our findings uncover that NF-κB nuclear translocation in leukocytes does not involve importin-α3, but rather importin-α5, which miR-181b does not target, highlighting that inhibition of NF-κB signaling in the endothelium is sufficient to mediate miR-181b's protective effects.
Systemic delivery of miR-181b inhibits the activation of NF-κB and atherosclerosis through cell-specific mechanisms in the vascular endothelium. These findings support the rationale that delivery of miR-181b may provide a novel therapeutic approach to treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4051320  PMID: 24084690
atherosclerosis; endothelial cells; inflammation; karyopherins; microRNAs; NF-κB
8.  Anti-atherosclerotic function of Astragali Radix extract: downregulation of adhesion molecules in vitro and in vivo 
Atherosclerosis is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disease. Astragali Radix extract (ARE) is one of the major active ingredients extracted from the root of Astragalus membranaceus Bge. Although ARE has an anti-inflammatory function, its anti-atherosclerotic effects and mechanisms have not yet been elucidated.
Murine endothelial SVEC4-10 cells were pretreated with different doses of ARE at different times prior to induction with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Cell adhesion assays were performed using THP-1 cells and assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, western blotting and immunofluorescence analyses to detect the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), phosphorylated inhibitor of κB (p-iκB) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB. We also examined the effect of ARE on atherosclerosis in the aortic endothelium of apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice.
TNF-α strongly increased the expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 accompanied by increased expression of p-iκB and NF-κB proteins. However, the expression levels of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 were reduced by ARE in dose- and time-dependent manners, with the strongest effect at a dose of 120 μg/ml incubated for 4 h. This was accompanied by significantly decreased expression of p-iκB and inhibited activation of NF-κB. Immunofluorescence analysis also revealed that oral administration of ARE resulted in downregulation of adhesion molecules and decreased expression of macrophages in the aortic endothelium of apoE−/− mice. ARE could suppress the inflammatory reaction and inhibit the progression of atherosclerotic lesions in apoE−/− mice.
This study demonstrated that ARE might be an effective anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of atherosclerosis, possibly acting via the decreased expression of adhesion molecules.
PMCID: PMC3478196  PMID: 22536886
Astragali Radix extract; Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1; Vntercellular adhesion molecule-1; Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice; Atherosclerosis
9.  Effect of Endothelium-Specific Insulin Resistance on Endothelial Function In Vivo 
Diabetes  2008;57(12):3307-3314.
OBJECTIVE—Insulin resistance is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular atherosclerosis. A key step in the development of atherosclerosis is endothelial dysfunction, manifest by a reduction in bioactivity of nitric oxide (NO). Insulin resistance is associated with endothelial dysfunction; however, the mechanistic relationship between these abnormalities and the role of impaired endothelial insulin signaling versus global insulin resistance remains unclear.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—To examine the effects of insulin resistance specific to the endothelium, we generated a transgenic mouse with endothelium-targeted overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant human insulin receptor (ESMIRO). This receptor has a mutation (Ala-Thr1134) in its tyrosine kinase domain that disrupts insulin signaling. Humans with the Thr1134 mutation are insulin resistant. We performed metabolic and vascular characterization of this model.
RESULTS—ESMIRO mice had preserved glucose homeostasis and were normotensive. They had significant endothelial dysfunction as evidenced by blunted aortic vasorelaxant responses to acetylcholine (ACh) and calcium ionophore. Furthermore, the vascular action of insulin was lost in ESMIRO mice, and insulin-induced endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation was blunted. Despite this phenotype, ESMIRO mice demonstrate similar levels of eNOS mRNA and protein expression to wild type. ACh-induced relaxation was normalized by the superoxide dismutase mimetic, Mn(III)tetrakis(1-methyl-4-pyridyl) porphyrin pentachloride. Endothelial cells of ESMIRO mice showed increased superoxide generation and increased mRNA expression of the NADPH oxidase isoforms Nox2 and Nox4.
CONCLUSIONS—Selective endothelial insulin resistance is sufficient to induce a reduction in NO bioavailability and endothelial dysfunction that is secondary to increased generation of reactive oxygen species. This arises independent of a significant metabolic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2584137  PMID: 18835939
10.  Polychlorinated biphenyl-induced VCAM-1 expression is attenuated in aortic endothelial cells isolated from caveolin-1 deficient mice 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2010;246(1-2):74-82.
Exposure to environmental contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is a critical mediator for adhesion and uptake of monocytes across the endothelium in the early stages of atherosclerosis development. The upregulation of VCAM-1 by PCBs may be dependent on functional membrane domains called caveolae. Caveolae are particularly abundant in endothelial cell membranes and involved in trafficking and signal transduction. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of caveolae in PCB-induced endothelial cell dysfunction. Primary mouse aortic endothelial cells (MAECs) isolated from caveolin-1-deficient mice and background C57BL/6 mice were treated with coplanar PCBs, such as PCB77 and PCB126. In addition, siRNA gene silencing technique was used to knockdown caveolin-1 in porcine vascular endothelial cells. In MAECs with functional caveolae, VCAM-1 protein levels were increased after exposure to both coplanar PCBs, whereas expression levels of VCAM-1 were not significantly altered in cells deficient of caveolin-1. Furthermore, PCB-induced monocyte adhesion was attenuated in caveolin-1-deficient MAECs. Similarly, siRNA silencing of caveolin-1 in porcine endothelial cells confirmed the caveolin-1-dependent VCAM-1 expression. Treatment of cells with PCB77 and PCB126 resulted in phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2), and pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 diminished the observed PCB-induced increase in monocyte adhesion. These findings suggest that coplanar PCBs induce adhesion molecule expression, such as VCAM-1, in endothelial cells, and that this response is regulated by caveolin-1 and functional caveolae. Our data demonstrate a critical role of functional caveolae in the activation and dysfunction of endothelial cells by coplanar PCBs.
PMCID: PMC2895770  PMID: 20406653
PCB; caveolin-1; mouse endothelial cells; vascular inflammation
11.  Tectorigenin Attenuates Palmitate-Induced Endothelial Insulin Resistance via Targeting ROS-Associated Inflammation and IRS-1 Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66417.
Tectorigenin is a plant isoflavonoid originally isolated from the dried flower of Pueraria thomsonii Benth. Although its anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperglycosemia effects have been well documented, the effect of tectorigenin on endothelial dysfunction insulin resistance involved has not yet been reported. Herein, this study aims to investigate the action of tectorigenin on amelioration of insulin resistance in the endothelium. Palmitic acid (PA) was chosen as a stimulant to induce ROS production in endothelial cells and successfully established insulin resistance evidenced by the specific impairment of insulin PI3K signaling. Tectorigenin effectively inhibited the ability of PA to induce the production of reactive oxygen species and collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential. Moreover, tectorigenin presented strong inhibition effect on ROS-associated inflammation, as TNF-α and IL-6 production in endothelial cells was greatly reduced with suppression of IKKβ/NF-κB phosphorylation and JNK activation. Tectorigenin also can inhibit inflammation-stimulated IRS-1 serine phosphorylation and restore the impaired insulin PI3K signaling, leading to a decreased NO production. These results demonstrated its positive regulation of insulin action in the endothelium. Meanwhile, tectorigenin down-regulated endothelin-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 overexpression, and restored the loss of insulin-mediated vasodilation in rat aorta. These findings suggested that tectorigenin could inhibit ROS-associated inflammation and ameliorated endothelial dysfunction implicated in insulin resistance through regulating IRS-1 function. Tectorigenin might have potential to be applied for the management of cardiovascular diseases involved in diabetes and insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3686685  PMID: 23840461
12.  Genome-Wide Approaches Reveal Functional Interleukin-4-Inducible STAT6 Binding to the Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 Promoter ▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(11):2196-2209.
Endothelial cell activation and dysfunction underlie many vascular disorders, including atherosclerosis and inflammation. Here, we show that interleukin-4 (IL-4) markedly induced vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), both in cultured endothelial cells and in the intact endothelium in mice. Combined treatment with IL-4 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) resulted in further, sustained induction of VCAM-1 expression. IL-4-mediated induction of VCAM-1 and secondary monocyte adhesion was predominantly regulated by the transcription factor STAT6. Genome-wide survey of IL-4-mediated STAT6 binding from sequential chromatin-immunoprecipitation with deep sequencing (chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing [ChIP-seq]) in endothelial cells revealed regions of transient and sustained transcription factor binding. Through the combination of DNA microarrays and ChIP-seq at the same time points, the majority of IL-4-responsive genes were shown to be STAT6 dependent and associated with direct STAT6 binding to their promoter. IL-4-mediated stable binding of STAT6 led to sustained target gene expression. Moreover, our strategy led to the identification of a novel functionally important STAT6 binding site within 16 kb upstream of the VCAM-1 gene. Taken together, these findings support a critical role for STAT6 in mediating IL-4 signal transduction in endothelial cells. Identification of a novel IL-4-mediated VCAM-1 enhancer may provide a foundation for targeted therapy in vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3133239  PMID: 21464207
13.  Protein Kinase-C Beta Contributes to Impaired Endothelial Insulin Signaling in Humans with Diabetes Mellitus 
Circulation  2012;127(1):86-95.
Abnormal endothelial function promotes atherosclerotic vascular disease in diabetes. Experimental studies indicate that disruption of endothelial insulin signaling through the activity of protein kinase C-β (PKCβ) and nuclear factor κB (NFκB) reduces nitric oxide availability. We sought to establish whether similar mechanisms operate in the endothelium in human diabetes mellitus.
Methods and Results
We measured protein expression and insulin response in freshly isolated endothelial cells from patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (n=40) and non-diabetic controls (n=36). Unexpectedly, we observed 1.7-fold higher basal endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation at serine 1177 in patients with diabetes (P=0.007) without a difference in total eNOS expression. Insulin stimulation increased eNOS phosphorylation in non-diabetic subjects but not in diabetic patients (P=0.003) consistent with endothelial insulin resistance. Nitrotyrosine levels were higher in diabetic patients indicating endothelial oxidative stress. PKCβ expression was higher in diabetic patients and was associated with lower flow-mediated dilation (r=−0.541, P=0.02) Inhibition of PKCβ with LY379196 reduced basal eNOS phosphorylation and improved insulin-mediated eNOS activation in patients with diabetes. Endothelial NFκB activation was higher in diabetes and was reduced with PKCβ inhibition.
We provide evidence for the presence of altered eNOS activation, reduced insulin action and inflammatory activation in the endothelium of patients with diabetes. Our findings implicate PKCβ activity in endothelial insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3572725  PMID: 23204109
endothelium; diabetes; insulin resistance; nitric oxide
14.  Inhibition of c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase Attenuates Low Shear Stress–Induced Atherogenesis in Apolipoprotein E–Deficient Mice 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(9-10):990-999.
Atherosclerosis begins as local inflammation of arterial walls at sites of disturbed flow, such as vessel curvatures and bifurcations with low shear stress. c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) is a major regulator of flow-dependent gene expression in endothelial cells in atherosclerosis. However, little is known about the in vivo role of JNK in low shear stress in atherosclerosis. We aimed to observe the effect of JNK on low shear stress–induced atherogenesis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice and investigate the potential mechanism in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We divided 84 male ApoE−/− mice into two groups for treatment with normal saline (NS) (n = 42) and JNK inhibitor SP600125 (JNK-I) (n = 42). Perivascular shear stress modifiers were placed around the right carotid arteries, and plaque formation was studied at low shear stress regions. The left carotid arteries without modifiers represented undisturbed shear stress as a control. The NS group showed atherosclerotic lesions in arterial regions with low shear stress, whereas the JNK-I group showed almost no atherosclerotic lesions. Corresponding to the expression of proatherogenic vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), phospho-JNK (p-JNK) level was higher in low shear stress regions with NS than with JNK-I inhibitor. In HUVECs under low shear stress, siRNA knockdown and SP600125 inhibition of JNK attenuated nuclear factor (NF)-κB activity and VCAM-1 expression. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1) (CD31) reduced p-JNK and VCAM-1 levels after low shear stress stimulation. JNK may play a critical role in low shear stress–induced atherogenesis by a PECAM-1–dependent mechanosensory pathway and modulating NF-κB activity and VCAM-1 expression.
PMCID: PMC3188877  PMID: 21629969
15.  Nonhematopoietic NADPH oxidase regulation of lung eosinophilia and airway hyperresponsiveness in experimentally induced asthma 
Pulmonary eosinophilia is one of the most consistent hallmarks of asthma. Infiltration of eosinophils into the lung in experimental asthma is dependent on the adhesion molecule vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on endothelial cells. Ligation of VCAM-1 activates endothelial cell NADPH oxidase, which is required for VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte migration in vitro. To examine whether endothelial-derived NADPH oxidase modulates eosinophil recruitment in vivo, mice deficient in NADPH oxidase (CYBB mice) were irradiated and received wild-type hematopoietic cells to generate chimeric CYBB mice. In response to ovalbumin (OVA) challenge, the chimeric CYBB mice had increased numbers of eosinophils bound to the endothelium as well as reduced eosinophilia in the lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage. This occurred independent of changes in VCAM-1 expression, cytokine/chemokine levels (IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IFNγ, or eotaxin), or numbers of T cells, neutrophils, or mononuclear cells in the lavage fluids or lung tissue of OVA-challenged mice. Importantly, the OVA-challenged chimeric CYBB mice had reduced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). The AHR in OVA-challenged chimeric CYBB mice was restored by bypassing the endothelium with intratracheal administration of eosinophils. These data suggest that VCAM-1 induction of NADPH oxidase in the endothelium is necessary for the eosinophil recruitment during allergic inflammation. Moreover, these studies provide a basis for targeting VCAM-1-dependent signaling pathways in asthma therapies.
PMCID: PMC2710034  PMID: 17293377
endothelium; gp91 phox; eosinophils; VCAM-1
16.  Copper Chelation by Tetrathiomolybdate Inhibits Vascular Inflammation and Atherosclerotic Lesion Development in Apolipoprotein E-deficient Mice 
Atherosclerosis  2012;223(2):306-313.
Endothelial activation, which is characterized by upregulation of cellular adhesion molecules and pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines, and consequent monocyte recruitment to the arterial intima are etiologic factors in atherosclerosis. Redox-active transition metal ions, such as copper and iron, may play an important role in endothelial activation by stimulating redox-sensitive cell signaling pathways. We have shown previously that copper chelation by tetrathiomolybdate (TTM) inhibits LPS-induced acute inflammatory responses in vivo. Here, we investigated whether TTM can inhibit atherosclerotic lesion development in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice. We found that 10-week treatment of apoE−/− mice with TTM (33–66 ppm in the diet) reduced serum levels of the copper-containing protein, ceruloplasmin, by 47%, and serum iron by 26%. Tissue levels of “bioavailable” copper, assessed by the copper-to-molybdenum ratio, decreased by 80% in aorta and heart, whereas iron levels of these tissues were not affected by TTM treatment. Furthermore, TTM significantly attenuated atherosclerotic lesion development in whole aorta by 25% and descending aorta by 45% compared to non-TTM treated apoE−/− mice. This anti-atherogenic effect of TTM was accompanied by several anti-inflammatory effects, i.e., significantly decreased serum levels of soluble vascular cell and intercellular adhesion molecules (VCAM-1 and ICAM-1); reduced aortic gene expression of VCAM-1, ICAM-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and pro-inflammatory cytokines; and significantly less aortic accumulation of M1 type macrophages. In contrast, serum levels of oxidized LDL were not reduced by TTM. These data indicate that TTM inhibits atherosclerosis in apoE−/− mice by reducing bioavailable copper and vascular inflammation, not by altering iron homeostasis or reducing oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3417757  PMID: 22770994
tetrathiomolybdate; endothelial activation; copper chelation; atherosclerosis; vascular inflammation
17.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Fimbria-Dependent Activation of Inflammatory Genes in Human Aortic Endothelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(9):5367-5378.
Epidemiological and pathological studies have suggested that infection with the oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis can potentiate atherosclerosis and human coronary heart disease. Furthermore, infection with invasive, but not noninvasive P. gingivalis has been demonstrated to accelerate atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice and to accelerate local inflammatory responses in aortic tissue. In the present study, using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays, we have defined the gene expression profile of human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) after infection with invasive and noninvasive P. gingivalis. After infection of HAEC with invasive P. gingivalis strain 381, we observed the upregulation of 68 genes. Genes coding for the cytokines Gro2 and Gro3; the adhesion molecules intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, and ELAM-1 (E-selectin); the chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8); and the proinflammatory molecules IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 were among the most highly upregulated genes in P. gingivalis 381-infected HAEC compared to uninfected HAEC control. Increased mRNA levels for signaling molecules, transcriptional regulators, and cell surface receptors were also observed. Of note, only 4 of these 68 genes were also upregulated in HAEC infected with the noninvasive P. gingivalis fimA mutant. Reverse transcription-PCR, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis confirmed the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-/P-selectins, IL-6, and IL-8 in HAEC infected with invasive P. gingivalis. We also demonstrated that increased expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in aortic tissue of ApoE−/− mice orally challenged with invasive P. gingivalis but not with the noninvasive P. gingivalis fimA mutant by immunohistochemical analysis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that P. gingivalis fimbria-mediated invasion upregulates inflammatory gene expression in HAEC and in aortic tissue and indicates that invasive P. gingivalis infection accelerates inflammatory responses directly in the aorta.
PMCID: PMC1231143  PMID: 16113252
18.  Obesity/insulin resistance is associated with endothelial dysfunction. Implications for the syndrome of insulin resistance. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;97(11):2601-2610.
To test the hypothesis that obesity/insulin resistance impairs both endothelium-dependent vasodilation and insulin-mediated augmentation of endothelium-dependent vasodilation, we studied leg blood flow (LBF) responses to graded intrafemoral artery infusions of methacholine chloride (MCh) or sodium nitroprusside (SNP) during saline infusion and euglycemic hyperinsulinemia in lean insulin-sensitive controls (C), in obese insulin-resistant subjects (OB), and in subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). MCh induced increments in LBF were approximately 40% and 55% lower in OB and NIDDM, respectively, as compared with C (P < 0.05). Euglycemic hyperinsulinemia augmented the LBF response to MCh by - 50% in C (P < 0.05 vs saline) but not in OB and NIDDM. SNP caused comparable increments in LBF in all groups. Regression analysis revealed a significant inverse correlation between the maximal LBF change in response to MCh and body fat content. Thus, obesity/insulin resistance is associated with (a) blunted endothelium-dependent, but normal endothelium-independent vasodilation and (b) failure of euglycemic hyperinsulinemia to augment endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Therefore, obese/insulin-resistant subjects are characterized by endothelial dysfunction and endothelial resistance to insulin's effect on enhancement of endothelium-dependent vasodilation. This endothelial dysfunction could contribute to the increased risk of atherosclerosis in obese insulin-resistant subjects.
PMCID: PMC507347  PMID: 8647954
19.  Human Leukocyte/Endothelial Cell Interactions and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetic Patients and Their Association With Silent Myocardial Ischemia 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1695-1702.
Diabetes is associated with oxidative stress and increased mortality, but a possible correlation between leukocyte-endothelium interactions, oxidative stress, and silent myocardial ischemia (SMI) is yet to be confirmed.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and interactions between leukocytes and human umbilical vein endothelial cells were evaluated in 200 type 2 diabetic patients (25 with SMI) and 60 body composition– and age-matched control subjects. A possible correlation between these parameters and the onset of SMI was explored, and anthropometric and metabolic parameters were also analyzed.
Waist, levels of triglycerides, proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α), HbA1c, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), glucose, and insulin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance were higher in diabetic patients than in control subjects. However, no statistical differences in hs-CRP and insulin levels were detected when the data were adjusted for waist. None of these parameters varied between SMI and non-SMI patients. Mitochondrial function was impaired and leukocyte-endothelium interactions were more frequent among diabetic patients, which was evident in the lower mitochondrial O2 consumption, membrane potential, polymorphonuclear cell rolling velocity, and GSH/GSSG ratio, and in the higher mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and rolling flux, adhesion, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and E-selectin molecules observed in these subjects. Moreover, these differences correlated with SMI. Statistical differences were maintained after adjusting the data for BMI and waist, with the exception of VCAM-1 levels when adjusted for waist.
Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and endothelium-inducing leukocyte-endothelium interactions are features of type 2 diabetes and correlate with SMI.
PMCID: PMC3661843  PMID: 23300290
20.  Pro- and anti-atherogenic effects of a dominant negative P465L mutation of PPARγ in apolipoprotein E-null mice 
The dominant-negative mutation, P467L, in Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor gamma (PPARγ) affects adipose tissue distribution, insulin sensitivity and blood pressure in heterozygous humans. We hypothesized that the equivalent mutation, PPARγ-P465L, in mice will worsen atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
ApolipoproteinE-null mice with and without PPARγ-P465L mutation were bred in 129S6 inbred genetic background. Mild hypertension and lipodystrophy of PPARγ-P465L persisted in the apoE-null background. Glucose homeostasis was normal, but plasma adiponectin was significantly lower and resistin was higher in PPARγ-P465L mice. Plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein distribution were not different, but plasma triglycerides tended to be reduced. Surprisingly, there were no overall changes in the atherosclerotic plaque size or composition. PPARγ-P465L macrophages had a small decrease in CD-36 mRNA and a small yet significant reduction in VLDL uptake in culture. In unloaded apoE-null macrophages with PPARγ-P465L, cholesterol uptake was reduced while apoAI-mediated efflux was increased. However, when cells were cholesterol loaded in presence of acetylated LDL, no genotype difference in uptake or efflux was apparent. A reduction of VCAM1 expression in aorta suggests a relatively anti-atherogenic vascular environment in mice with PPARγ-P465L.
Small, competing pro- and anti-atherogenic effects of PPARγ-P465L mutation result in unchanged plaque development in apoE-deficient mice.
PMCID: PMC3389794  PMID: 22539598
mouse model; macrophage; bone marrow transfer; PPAR gamma; atherosclerosis
21.  Receptors and growth-promoting effects of insulin and insulinlike growth factors on cells from bovine retinal capillaries and aorta. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1985;75(3):1028-1036.
It has been suggested that elevated levels of insulin or insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) play a role in the development of diabetic vascular complications. Previously, we have shown a differential response to insulin between vascular cells from retinal capillaries and large arteries with the former being much more insulin responsive. In the present study, we have characterized the receptors and the growth-promoting effect of insulinlike growth factor I (IGF-I) and multiplication-stimulating activity (MSA, an IGF-II) on endothelial cells and pericytes from calf retinal capillaries and on endothelial and smooth muscle cells from calf aorta. We found single and separate populations of high affinity receptors for IGF-I and MSA with respective affinity constants of 1 X 10(-9) M-1 and 10(-8) M-1 in all four cell types studied. Specific binding of IGF-I was between 7.2 and 7.9% per milligram of protein in endothelial cells and 9.1 and 10.4% in the vascular supporting cells. For 125I-MSA, retinal endothelial cells bound only 1.7-2.5%, whereas the aortic endothelial cells and the vascular supporting cells bound between 5.6 and 8.5% per milligram of protein. The specificity of the receptors for IGF-I and MSA differed, as insulin and MSA was able to compete with 125I-IGF-I for binding to the IGF-I receptors with 0.01-0.1, the potency of unlabeled IGF-I, whereas even 1 X 10(-6) M, insulin did not significantly compete with 125I-MSA for binding to the receptors for MSA. For growth-promoting effects, as measured by the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA, confluent retinal endothelial cells responded to IGF-I and MSA by up to threefold increase in the rate of DNA synthesis, whereas confluent aortic endothelial cells did not respond at all. A similar differential of response to insulin between micro- and macrovascular endothelial cells was reported by us previously. In the retinal endothelium, insulin was more potent than IGF-I and IGF-I was more potent that MSA. In the retinal and aortic supporting cells, no differential response to insulin or the IGFs was observed. In the retinal pericytes, IGF-I, which stimulated significant DNA synthesis beginning at 1 X 10(-9) M, and had a maximal effect at 5 X 10(-8) M, was 10-fold more potent than MSA and equally potent to insulin. In the aortic smooth muscle cells, IGF-I was 10-100 times more potent than insulin or MSA. In the retinal and aortic supporting cells, no differential response to insulin or the IGFs was observed. In the retinal pericytes, IGF-I, which stimulated significant DNA synthesis beginning at 1 X 10(-9) M, and had a maximal effect at 5 X 10(-8) M, was 10-fold more potent than MSA and equally potent to insulin. In the aortic smooth muscle cells, IGF-I was 10-100 times more potent than insulin or MSA. In addition, insulin and IGF-I at 1 X 10(-6) and 1 X 10(-8) M, respectively, stimulated these cells to grow by doubling the number of cells as well. In all responsive tissues, the combination of insulin and IGFs were added together, no further increase in effect was seen. These data showed that vascular cells have insulin and IGF receptors, but have a differential response to these hormones. These differences in biological response between cells from retinal capillaries and large arteries could provide clues to understanding the pathogenesis of diabetic micro- and macroangiopathy.
PMCID: PMC423655  PMID: 2984251
22.  Modified low density lipoprotein and its constituents augment cytokine-activated vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 gene expression in human vascular endothelial cells. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(3):1262-1270.
Early features in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis include accumulation of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and endothelial expression of the vascular adhesion molecule VCAM-1. Because antioxidants inhibit endothelial VCAM-1 expression, we tested the hypothesis that oxLDL functions as a prooxidant signal in atherogenesis to augment VCAM-1 activation by inflammatory signals. Cultured human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) or human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were incubated with unmodified LDL, oxLDL, or glycated LDL for 48 h. No change in VCAM-1, intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), or E-selectin expression from control was observed by ELISA. However, dose-response and time course studies demonstrated that oxLDL enhanced VCAM-1 expression induced by the cytokin tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) 63% in HAECs and 45% in HUVECs over unmodified LDL or control. Using flow cytometry analysis, oxLDL augmented TNF alpha-induced VCAM-1 expression in a uniform HAEC population. oxLDL had no effect on E-selection induction. oxLDL augmented TNF alpha-induced ICAM-1 expression 44% in HAECs but not in HUVECs. Glycated LDL augmented TNF alpha-induced VCAM-1 expression 35% in HAECs but not HUVECs. Similar results were obtained with 13-HPODE or lysophosphatidylcholine, significant components of oxLDL. 13-HPODE augmented TNF alpha-induced mRNA accumulation and transcriptional activation of VCAM-1 in HAECs. These results suggest that as long-term regulatory signals, specific oxidized fatty acid and phospholipid components of oxLDL augment the ability of vascular endothelial cells to express cytokine-mediated VCAM-1. These studies link oxidant signals conferred by oxLDL to oxidation-sensitive regulatory mechanisms controlling the expression of endothelial cell adhesion molecules involved in early atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC441465  PMID: 7533787
23.  SIRT1 reduces endothelial activation without affecting vascular function in ApoE-/- mice 
Aging (Albany NY)  2010;2(6):353-360.
Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to progression of atherosclerosis, at least in part by causing endothelial dysfunction and inflammatory activation. The class III histone deacetylase SIRT1 has been implicated in extension of lifespan. In the vasculature,SIRT1 gain-of-function using SIRT1 overexpression or activation has been shown to improve endothelial function in mice and rats via stimulation of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS). However, the effects of SIRT1 loss-of-function on the endothelium in atherosclerosis remain to be characterized. Thus, we have investigated the endothelial effects of decreased endogenous SIRT1 in hypercholesterolemic ApoE-/- mice. We observed no difference in endothelial relaxation and eNOS (Ser1177) phosphorylation between 20-week old male atherosclerotic ApoE-/- SIRT1+/- and ApoE-/- SIRT1+/+ mice. However, SIRT1 prevented endothelial superoxide production, inhibited NF-κB signaling, and diminished expression of adhesion molecules. Treatment of young hypercholesterolemic ApoE-/- SIRT1+/- mice with lipopolysaccharide to boost NF-κB signaling led to a more pronounced endothelial expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 as compared to ApoE-/- SIRT1+/+ mice. In conclusion, endogenous SIRT1 diminishes endothelial activation in ApoE-/- mice, but does not affect endothelium-dependent vasodilatation.
PMCID: PMC2919255  PMID: 20606253
SIRT1; atherosclerosis; endothelium; inflammation
24.  11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 deficiency accelerates atherogenesis and causes pro-inflammatory changes in the endothelium in Apoe−/− mice 
Endocrinology  2010;152(1):236-246.
Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation is pro inflammatory and pro atherogenic. Antagonism of MR improves survival in humans with congestive heart failure caused by atherosclerotic disease. In animal models, activation of MR exacerbates atherosclerosis. The enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11β-HSD2) prevents inappropriate activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) from inappropriate activation by glucocorticoids by inactivating glucocorticoids in mineralocorticoid-target tissues. To determine whether glucocorticoid-mediated activation of MR increases atheromatous plaque formation we generated Apoe−/−/11β-HSD2−/− double-knockout (E/b2) mice. On chow diet, E/b2 mice developed atherosclerotic lesions by 3 months of age, while Apoe−/− mice remained lesion-free. Brachiocephalic plaques in 3 month-old E/b2 mice showed increased macrophage and lipid content and reduced collagen content compared to similar sized brachiocephalic plaques in 6 month old Apoe−/− mice. Crucially, treatment of E/b2 mice with eplerenone, an MR antagonist, reduced plaque development and macrophage infiltration while increasing collagen and smooth muscle cell content without any effect on systolic blood pressure (SBP). In contrast, reduction of SBP in E/b2 mice using the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blocker amiloride produced a less profound atheroprotective effect. Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) expression was increased in the endothelium of E/b2 mice compared to Apoe−/− mice. Similarly, aldosterone increased VCAM-1 expression in mouse aortic endothelial cells, an effect mimicked by corticosterone only in the presence of an 11β-HSD2 inhibitor. Thus, loss of 11β-HSD2 leads to striking atherogenesis associated with activation of MR stimulating pro-inflammatory processes in the endothelium of E/b2 mice.
PMCID: PMC3977042  PMID: 21106873
atherosclerosis; mineralocorticoid receptor; 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
25.  Deletion of Tenascin-C gene Exacerbates Atherosclerosis and Induces Intraplaque Hemorrhage in Apo E Deficient Mice 
Tenascin-C (TNC), a matricellular protein, is upregulated in atherosclerotic plaques. We investigated whether the deletion of TNC gene affects the development of atherosclerosis in a murine model.
TNC−/−/apo E−/− mice were generated and used for atherosclerosis studies. We compared these results to those observed in control groups of apo E−/− mice.
The en face analysis of aortic area showed that the mean aortic lesion area of the double KO mice was significantly higher than control mice at different times after feeding of atherogenic diet; the accumulation of lesional macrophages and lipids were significantly higher, respectively. Analysis of cell adhesion molecules revealed that VCAM-1, but not ICAM-1, was upregulated 1 week after feeding of atherogenic diet in the double KO mouse as compared to apo E−/− mouse. Cell culture studies revealed that the expression of VCAM-1 in endothelial cells isolated from the double KO mouse is more sensitive to the TNFα stimulation than the cells isolated from apo E−/− mice. Cell adhesion studies showed that the adherence of RAW monocytic cells to the endothelial cells was significantly enhanced in the cultured endothelial cells from the TNC gene-deleted cells. Following the prolonged feeding of an atherogenic diet (28–30 weeks), the aortic and carotid atherosclerotic lesions frequently demonstrated large grossly visible areas of intraplaque hemorrhage in the double KO mice compared to control.
These data unveil a protective role for TNC in atherosclerosis and suggest that TNC signaling may have the potential to reduce atherosclerosis, in part by modulating VCAM-1 expression.
PMCID: PMC3345312  PMID: 22300502
tenascin; atherosclerosis; plaque hemorrhage; extracellular matrix; VCAM-1

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