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1.  Epigenetic Attenuation of Mitochondrial Superoxide Dismutase 2 (SOD2) in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
Circulation  2010;121(24):2661-2671.
Excessive proliferation and impaired apoptosis of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) contributes to vascular obstruction in patients and fawn-hooded rats (FHR) with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Expression and activity of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2), the major generator of H2O2, is known to be reduced in PAH; however, the mechanism and therapeutic relevance of this is unknown.
Methods and Results
SOD2 expression in PASMC is decreased in PAH patients and FHR with PAH. FHR PASMC have higher proliferation and lower apoptosis rates than Sprague-Dawley PASMC. Moreover, FHR PASMC have hyperpolarized mitochondria, low H2O2 production and a reduced cytoplasmic and mitochondrial redox state. Administration of SOD2 siRNA to normal PASMC recapitulates the FHR-PAH phenotype, hyperpolarizing mitochondria, decreasing H2O2 and inhibiting caspase activity. Conversely, SOD2 over-expression in FHR PASMC, or therapy with the SOD-mimetic MnTBAP, reverses the hyperproliferative PAH phenotype. Importantly, SOD-mimetic therapy regresses PAH in vivo. Investigation of the SOD2 gene revealed no mutation, suggesting a possible epigenetic dysregulation. Genomic bisulfite sequencing demonstrates selective hypermethylation of a CpG island in an enhancer region of intron 2 and another in the promoter. Differential methylation occurs selectively in PA versus aortic SMC and is reversed by the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine, restoring both SOD2 expression and the proliferation/apoptosis ratio. The expression of the enzymes that mediate gene methylation, DNA methyltransferases 1 and 3B, is upregulated in FHR lungs.
Tissue-specific, epigenetic SOD2 deficiency initiates and sustains a heritable form of PAH by impairing redox signaling and creating a proliferative, apoptosis-resistant PASMC. SOD augmentation regresses experimental PAH. The discovery of an epigenetic component to PAH may offer new therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2914302  PMID: 20529999
Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv1.5); Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α); Epigenetic gene methylation; DNA methyltransferase
2.  Copper Transporter ATP7A Protects Against Endothelial Dysfunction in Type 1 Diabetic Mice by Regulating Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase 
Diabetes  2013;62(11):3839-3850.
Oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction contribute to vascular complication in diabetes. Extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) is one of the key antioxidant enzymes that obtains copper via copper transporter ATP7A. SOD3 is secreted from vascular smooth muscles cells (VSMCs) and anchors at the endothelial surface. The role of SOD3 and ATP7A in endothelial dysfunction in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is entirely unknown. Here we show that the specific activity of SOD3, but not SOD1, is decreased, which is associated with increased O2•− production in aortas of streptozotocin-induced and genetically induced Ins2Akita T1DM mice. Exogenous copper partially rescued SOD3 activity in isolated T1DM vessels. Functionally, acetylcholine-induced, endothelium-dependent relaxation is impaired in T1DM mesenteric arteries, which is rescued by SOD mimetic tempol or gene transfer of SOD3. Mechanistically, ATP7A expression in T1DM vessels is dramatically decreased whereas other copper transport proteins are not altered. T1DM-induced endothelial dysfunction and decrease of SOD3 activity are rescued in transgenic mice overexpressing ATP7A. Furthermore, SOD3-deficient T1DM mice or ATP7A mutant T1DM mice augment endothelial dysfunction and vascular O2•− production versus T1DM mice. These effects are in part due to hypoinsulinemia in T1DM mice, since insulin treatment, but not high glucose, increases ATP7A expression in VSMCs and restores SOD3 activity in the organoid culture of T1DM vessels. In summary, a decrease in ATP7A protein expression contributes to impaired SOD3 activity, resulting in O2•− overproduction and endothelial dysfunction in blood vessels of T1DM. Thus, restoring copper transporter function is an essential therapeutic approach for oxidant stress–dependent vascular and metabolic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3806617  PMID: 23884884
Free radical biology & medicine  2010;48(7):895-904.
Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) plays an important role in maintaining normal redox homeostasis in the lung. It is expressed at very high levels in pulmonary fibroblasts, alveolar type II epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. The molecular mechanism(s) governing this cell-specific expression of EC-SOD are mostly unknown. In our previous studies we showed that EC-SOD cell specific expression was not attributed to differential transcriptional regulation, suggesting that other, possibly epigenetic, mechanisms are involved in regulation of its expression. In this paper, we found high levels of promoter methylation in A549 cells and correspondingly low levels of methylation in MRC5 cells. Inhibition of DNA methyltransferase activity by 5-azacytidine in A549 cells reactivated EC-SOD transcription (2.75±0.16 fold, p<0.001) demonstrating the importance of methylation in repression of EC-SOD expression. Furthermore, methylation of cytosines in the promoter markedly decreased Sp1/Sp3 driven promoter activity to 30.09±2.85% (p<0.001) compare to unmethylated promoter. This attenuation of transcription in the promoter-reporter construct was, at least in part, attributed to the binding of methyl-binding protein MeCP2 in the insect cells. However, no binding of MeCP2 or MBD2 proteins to EC-SOD promoter was detected in mammalian cells in vivo. We also found marked differences in the chromatin organization of the EC-SOD promoter between these two cell lines, further supporting the important role epigenetic modifications play in the regulation of EC-SOD expression.
PMCID: PMC2838251  PMID: 20079429
reactive oxygen species; transcription; epigenetic regulation; DNA methylation; methyl-binding proteins; lung; chromatin organization
4.  Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase Overexpression Can Reverse the Course of Hypoxia-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension 
Molecular Medicine  2011;18(1):38-46.
Hypoxia leads to free radical production, which has a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We hypothesized that treatment with extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) could ameliorate the development of PH induced by hypoxia. In vitro studies using pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells showed that cells transfected with EC-SOD had significantly less accumulation of xanthine oxidase and reactive oxygen species than nontransfected cells after hypoxia exposure for 24 h. To study the prophylactic role of EC-SOD, adult male wild-type (WT) and transgenic (TG) mice, with lung-specific overexpression of human EC-SOD (hEC-SOD), were exposed to fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) 10% for 10 d. After exposure, right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), right ventricular mass (RV/S + LV), pulmonary vascular wall thickness (PVWT) and pulmonary artery contraction/relaxation were assessed. TG mice were protected against PH compared with WT mice with significantly lower RVSP (23.9 ± 1.24 versus 47.2 ± 3.4), RV/S + LV (0.287 ± 0.015 versus 0.335 ± 0.022) and vascular remodeling, indicated by PVWT (14.324 ± 1.107 versus 18.885 ± 1.529). Functional studies using pulmonary arteries isolated from mice indicated that EC-SOD prevents hypoxia-mediated attenuation of nitric oxide–induced relaxation. Therapeutic potential was assessed by exposing WT mice to FiO2 10% for 10 d. Half of the group was transfected with plasmid containing cDNA encoding human EC-SOD. The remaining animals were transfected with empty vector. Both groups were exposed to FiO2 10% for a further 10 d. Transfected mice had significantly reduced RVSP (18.97 ± 1.12 versus 41.3 ± 1.5), RV/S + LV (0.293 ± 0.012 versus 0.372 ± 0.014) and PVWT (12.51 ± 0.72 versus 18.98 ± 1.24). On the basis of these findings, we concluded that overexpression of EC-SOD prevents the development of PH and ameliorates established PH.
PMCID: PMC3269642  PMID: 22045221
5.  Xanthine Oxidase-Derived ROS Upregulate Egr-1 via ERK1/2 in PA Smooth Muscle Cells; Model to Test Impact of Extracellular ROS in Chronic Hypoxia 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27531.
Exposure of newborn calves to chronic hypoxia causes pulmonary artery (PA) hypertension and remodeling. Previous studies showed that the redox-sensitive transcription factor, early growth response-1 (Egr-1), is upregulated in the PA of chronically hypoxic calves and regulates cell proliferation. Furthermore, we established in mice a correlation between hypoxic induction of Egr-1 and reduced activity of extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD), an antioxidant that scavenges extracellular superoxide. We now hypothesize that loss of EC-SOD in chronically hypoxic calves leads to extracellular superoxide-mediated upregulation of Egr-1. To validate our hypothesis and identify the signaling pathways involved, we utilized PA tissue from normoxic and chronically hypoxic calves and cultured calf and human PA smooth muscle cells (PASMC). Total SOD activity was low in the PA tissue, and only the extracellular SOD component decreased with hypoxia. PA tissue of hypoxic calves showed increased oxidative stress and increased Egr-1 mRNA. To mimic the in vivo hypoxia-induced extracellular oxidant imbalance, cultured calf PASMC were treated with xanthine oxidase (XO), which generates extracellular superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. We found that 1) XO increased Egr-1 mRNA and protein, 2) XO induced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and, 3) pretreatment with an ERK1/2 inhibitor prevented induction of Egr-1 by XO. siRNA knock-down of EC-SOD in human PASMC also upregulated Egr-1 mRNA and protein, activated ERK1/2, and enhanced SMC proliferation and reduced apoptosis. We conclude that an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance arising from loss of EC-SOD in the PA with chronic hypoxia induces Egr-1 via activation of ERK1/2 and contributes to pulmonary vascular remodeling.
PMCID: PMC3225357  PMID: 22140445
6.  Epigenetic reprogramming governs EcSOD expression during human mammary epithelial cell differentiation, tumorigenesis and metastasis 
Oncogene  2013;33(3):358-368.
Expression of the antioxidant enzyme EcSOD in normal human mammary epithelial cells was not recognized until recently. Although expression of EcSOD was not detectable in non-malignant human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) cultured in conventional two-dimensional (2D) culture conditions, EcSOD protein expression was observed in normal human breast tissues, suggesting that the 2D-cultured condition induces a repressive status of EcSOD gene expression in HMEC. With the use of laminin-enriched extracellular matrix (lrECM), we were able to detect expression of EcSOD when HMEC formed polarized acinar structures in a 3D-culture condition. Repression of the EcSOD-gene expression was again seen when the HMEC acini were sub-cultured as a monolayer, implying that lrECM-induced acinar morphogenesis is essential in EcSOD-gene activation. We have further shown the involvement of DNA methylation in regulating EcSOD expression in HMEC under these cell culture conditions. EcSOD mRNA expression was strongly induced in the 2D-cultured HMEC after treatment with a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor. In addition, epigenetic analyses showed a decrease in the degree of CpG methylation in the EcSOD promoter in the 3D versus 2D-cultured HMEC. More importantly, >80% of clinical mammary adenocarcinoma samples showed significantly decreased EcSOD mRNA and protein expression levels compared with normal mammary tissues and there is an inverse correlation between the expression levels of EcSOD and the clinical stages of breast cancer. Combined bisulfite restriction analysis analysis of some of the tumors also revealed an association of DNA methylation with the loss of EcSOD expression in vivo. Furthermore, overexpression of EcSOD inhibited breast cancer metastasis in both the experimental lung metastasis model and the syngeneic mouse model. This study suggests that epigenetic silencing of EcSOD may contribute to mammary tumorigenesis and that restoring the extracellular superoxide scavenging activity could be an effective strategy for breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3711965  PMID: 23318435
three-dimensional culture; DNA methylation; experimental lung metastasis; spontaneous metastasis; acinar morphogenesis; laminin-enriched extracellular matrix
7.  Role of Menkes ATPase in Angiotensin II-Induced Hypertension: A Key Modulator for Extracellular SOD Function 
Hypertension  2008;52(5):945-951.
The extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3), a secretory copper-containing enzyme, regulates angiotensin II (Ang II)–induced hypertension by modulating levels of extracellular superoxide anion. The present study was designed to determine the role of the copper transporter Menkes ATPase (MNK) in Ang II–induced SOD3 activity and hypertension in vivo. Here we show that chronic Ang II infusion enhanced systolic blood pressure and vascular superoxide anion production in MNK mutant (MNKmut) mice as compared with those in wild-type mice, which are associated with impaired acetylcholine-induced endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in MNKmut mice. These effects in MNKmut mice are rescued by infusion of the SOD mimetic Tempol. By contrast, norepinephrine-induced hypertension, which is not associated with an increase in vascular superoxide anion production, is not affected in MNKmut mice. Mechanistically, basal and Ang II infusion-induced increase in vascular SOD3-specific activity is significantly inhibited in MNKmut mice. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis reveals that Ang II stimulation promotes association of MNK with SOD3 in cultured vascular smooth muscle cell and in mouse aortas, which may contribute to SOD3-specific activity by increasing copper delivery to SOD3 through MNK. In summary, MNK plays an important role in modulating Ang II–induced hypertension and endothelial function by regulating SOD3 activity and vascular superoxide anion production and becomes a potential therapeutic target for oxidant stress-dependent cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC2678052  PMID: 18768397
angiotensin II; hypertension; MNK protein; norepinephrine; oxidative stress; SOD1; SOD3
8.  Epigenetic Modification of Sod2 in the Development of Diabetic Retinopathy and in the Metabolic Memory: Role of Histone Methylation 
Mitochondrial superoxide levels are elevated in the retina in diabetes, and their scavenging enzyme, MnSOD, becomes subnormal. The objective of this study is to investigate the role of histone methylation of Sod2, the gene that encodes MnSOD, in the development of diabetic retinopathy and in the metabolic memory phenomenon associated with its continued progression after termination of hyperglycemia.
Effect of high glucose on monomethyl H3K4 (H3K4me1), dimethyl H3K4 (H3K4me2), and lysine-specific demethylase-1 (LSD1) was quantified at Sod2 by chromatin immunoprecipitation in isolated retinal endothelial cells. The role of histone methylation in the metabolic memory phenomenon was investigated in the retina of rats maintained in poor glycemic control (PC, approximately 12% glycated hemoglobin [GHb]) for 3 months followed by in good glycemic control (GC, approximately 6% GHb) for 3 months.
Hyperglycemia reduced H3K4me1 and -me2, and increased the binding of LSD1 and Sp1 at Sod2. Regulation of LSD1 by LSD1-siRNA ameliorated glucose-induced decrease in H3K4 methylation at Sod2, and prevented decrease in Sod2 gene expression. In rats, re-institution of GC failed to reverse decrease in H3K4me1 and -me2 at Sod2, and LSD1 remained active with increased binding of LSD1 and Sp1 at Sod2. Retina from human donors with diabetic retinopathy also had decreased H3K4me2 and increased LSD1 at Sod2.
Histone methylation of retinal Sod2 has an important role in the development of diabetic retinopathy and in the metabolic memory phenomenon associated with its continued progression. Targeting enzymes important for histone methylation may serve as a potential therapy to halt the development of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes alters the histone 3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methylation status of retinal Sod2 via activation of lysine-specific demethylase 1, and H3K4 remains hypomethylated even after hyperglycemic insult is terminated.
PMCID: PMC3590072  PMID: 23221071
9.  Epigenetic silencing of SOD2 by histone modifications in human breast cancer cells 
Free radical biology & medicine  2008;45(11):1573-1580.
Many breast cancer cells typically exhibit lower expression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) compared to the normal cells from which they arise. This decrease can often be attributed to a defect in the transcription of SOD2, the gene encoding MnSOD; however, the mechanism responsible for this change remains unclear. Here, we describe how altered histone modifications and a repressive chromatin structure constitute an epigenetic process to down regulate SOD2 in human breast carcinoma cell lines. Utilizing chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) we observed decreased levels of dimethyl H3K4 and acetylated H3K9 at key regulatory elements of the SOD2 gene. Consistent with these results, we show that loss of these histone modifications creates a repressive chromatin structure at SOD2. Transcription factor ChIP experiments revealed that this repressive chromatin structure influences the binding of SP-1, AP-1, and NFκB to SOD2 regulatory cis-elements in vivo. Lastly, we show that treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitors trichostatin A and sodium butyrate can reactivate SOD2 expression in breast cancer cell lines. Taken together, these results indicate that epigenetic silencing of SOD2 could be facilitated by changes in histone modifications and represent one mechanism leading to the altered expression of MnSOD observed in many breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC2633123  PMID: 18845242
methylation; chromatin; mammary; carcinoma; antioxidant
10.  Superoxide Dismutase Mimetic, MnTE-2-PyP, Attenuates Chronic Hypoxia-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension, Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling, and Activation of the NALP3 Inflammasome 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(14):1753-1764.
Aims: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance that promotes abnormal vascular responses. Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide (O2•−), contribute to the pathogenesis of PH and vascular responses, including vascular remodeling and inflammation. This study sought to investigate the protective role of a pharmacological catalytic antioxidant, a superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic (MnTE-2-PyP), in hypoxia-induced PH, vascular remodeling, and NALP3 (NACHT, LRR, and PYD domain-containing protein 3)–mediated inflammation. Results: Mice (C57/BL6) were exposed to hypobaric hypoxic conditions, while subcutaneous injections of MnTE-2-PyP (5 mg/kg) or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) were given 3× weekly for up to 35 days. SOD mimetic-treated groups demonstrated protection against increased right ventricular systolic pressure, indirect measurements of pulmonary artery pressure, and RV hypertrophy. Vascular remodeling was assessed by Ki67 staining to detect vascular cell proliferation, α-smooth muscle actin staining to analyze small vessel muscularization, and hyaluronan (HA) measurements to assess extracellular matrix modulation. Activation of the NALP3 inflammasome pathway was measured by NALP3 expression, caspase-1 activation, and interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β) and IL-18 production. Hypoxic exposure increased PH, vascular remodeling, and NALP3 inflammasome activation in PBS-treated mice, while mice treated with MnTE-2-PyP showed an attenuation in each of these endpoints. Innovation: This study is the first to demonstrate activation of the NALP3 inflammasome with cleavage of caspase-1 and release of active IL-1 β and IL-18 in chronic hypoxic PH, as well as its attenuation by the SOD mimetic, MnTE-2-PyP. Conclusion: The ability of the SOD mimetic to scavenge extracellular O2•− supports our previous observations in EC-SOD-overexpressing mice that implicate extracellular oxidant/antioxidant imbalance in hypoxic PH and implicates its role in hypoxia-induced inflammation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1753–1764.
PMCID: PMC3619229  PMID: 23240585
11.  AAV9-Mediated Overexpression of Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase Improves Recovery from Surgical Hind-limb Ischemia in BALB/c Mice 
Neovascularization is a physiological repair process that is partly dependent on nitric oxide. Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) is the major scavenger of superoxide and thus is an important regulator of nitric oxide bioavailability and thus protects against vascular dysfunction. We hypothesized that overexpression of EcSOD in skeletal muscle would improve recovery from hind-limb ischemia.
Adeno associated virus (AAV) vectors expressing EcSOD or luciferase (control) from the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter were cross-packaged into AAV9 capsids and injected IM into hind-limb muscles (1×1011 viral genomes(vg)/limb) of 12 wk-old mice. Ischemia was then induced after IM injections. Limb perfusion was serially measured by laser Doppler on days 0, 7 & 14 post-injection and values were expressed as a ratio relative to the non-ischemic limb. EcSOD expression was measured by Western blotting. Capillary density was documented by immunohistochemical staining for platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM). Apoptosis was assessed by Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and necrosis was visually evaluated daily.
EcSOD expression was 2-fold up-regulated in EcSOD treated vs. control ischemic muscles at day 14. Capillary density was 1.9-fold higher in treated (1.65±0.02 capillaries/fiber) vs. control muscle (0.78±0.17 capillaries/fiber, p<0.05). Recovery of perfusion ratio at day 14 post-ischemia was 1.5-fold greater in EcSOD vs. control mice (p<0.05). The percentage of apoptotic nuclei was 1.3 ± 0.4% in EcSOD treated mice as compared to 4.2± 0.2% in controls (p<0.001). Limb necrosis was also significantly lower in EcSOD vs. control mice.
AAV9-mediated overexpression of EcSOD in skeletal muscle significantly improves recovery from hind-limb ischemia in mice, consistent with improved capillary density and perfusion ratios in treated mice.
PMCID: PMC3166979  PMID: 21723687
Extracellular superoxide dismutase; AAV-9; hind-limb ischemia; nitric oxide
12.  Regulation of the vascular extracellular superoxide dismutase by nitric oxide and exercise training 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;105(11):1631-1639.
The bioactivity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) reflects its rates of production and of inactivation by superoxide (O2•–), a reactive species dismutated by extracellular superoxide dismutase (ecSOD). We have now examined the complementary hypothesis, namely that NO modulates ecSOD expression. The NO donor DETA-NO increased ecSOD expression in a time- and dose-dependent manner in human aortic smooth muscle cells. This effect was prevented by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ and by the protein kinase G (PKG) inhibitor Rp-8-CPT-cGMP. Expression of ecSOD was also increased by 8-bromo-cGMP, but not by 8-bromo-cAMP. Interestingly, the effect of NO on ecSOD expression was prevented by inhibition of the MAP kinase p38 but not of the MAP kinase kinase p42/44, suggesting that NO modulates ecSOD expression via cGMP/PKG and p38MAP kinase–dependent pathways, but not through p42/44MAP kinase. In aortas from mice lacking the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), ecSOD was reduced more than twofold compared to controls. Treadmill exercise training increased eNOS and ecSOD expression in wild-type mice but had no effect on ecSOD expression in mice lacking eNOS, suggesting that this effect of exercise is meditated by endothelium-derived NO. Upregulation of ecSOD expression by NO may represent an important feed-forward mechanism whereby endothelial NO stimulates ecSOD expression in adjacent smooth muscle cells, thus preventing O2•–-mediated degradation of NO as it traverses between the two cell types.
PMCID: PMC300857  PMID: 10841522
13.  Barley beta-glucan promotes MnSOD expression and enhances angiogenesis under oxidative microenvironment 
Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), a foremost antioxidant enzyme, plays a key role in angiogenesis. Barley-derived (1.3) β-d-glucan (β-d-glucan) is a natural water-soluble polysaccharide with antioxidant properties. To explore the effects of β-d-glucan on MnSOD-related angiogenesis under oxidative stress, we tested epigenetic mechanisms underlying modulation of MnSOD level in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Long-term treatment of HUVECs with 3% w/v β-d-glucan significantly increased the level of MnSOD by 200% ± 2% compared to control and by 50% ± 4% compared to untreated H2O2-stressed cells. β-d-glucan-treated HUVECs displayed greater angiogenic ability. In vivo, 24 hrs-treatment with 3% w/v β-d-glucan rescued vasculogenesis in Tg (kdrl: EGFP) s843Tg zebrafish embryos exposed to oxidative microenvironment. HUVECs overexpressing MnSOD demonstrated an increased activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), reduced load of superoxide anion (O2−) and an increased survival under oxidative stress. In addition, β-d-glucan prevented the rise of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)1-α under oxidative stress. The level of histone H4 acetylation was significantly increased by β-d-glucan. Increasing histone acetylation by sodium butyrate, an inhibitor of class I histone deacetylases (HDACs I), did not activate MnSOD-related angiogenesis and did not impair β-d-glucan effects. In conclusion, 3% w/v β-d-glucan activates endothelial expression of MnSOD independent of histone acetylation level, thereby leading to adequate removal of O2−, cell survival and angiogenic response to oxidative stress. The identification of dietary β-d-glucan as activator of MnSOD-related angiogenesis might lead to the development of nutritional approaches for the prevention of ischemic remodelling and heart failure.
PMCID: PMC4288365  PMID: 25388628
beta-glucan; angiogenesis; endothelial cells; antioxidants; histone deacetylases
14.  Genetic and epigenetic inactivation of extracellular superoxide dismutase promotes an invasive phenotype in human lung cancer by disrupting ECM homeostasis 
Molecular Cancer Research  2011;10(1):40-51.
Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) is an important superoxide scavenger in the lung where its loss, sequence variation, or abnormal expression contributes to lung diseases; however, the role of EcSOD in lung cancer has yet to be studied. We hypothesized that EcSOD loss could affect malignant progression in lung, and could be either genetic or epigenetic in nature. To test this we analyzed EcSOD expression, gene copy number, promoter methylation and chromatin accessibility in normal lung and carcinoma cells. We found that normal airway epithelial cells expressed abundant EcSOD and had an unmethylated promoter, whereas EcSOD-negative lung cancer cells displayed aberrant promoter hypermethylation and decreased chromatin accessibility. 5-aza-dC induced EcSOD suggesting that cytosine methylation was causal, in part, to silencing. In 48/50 lung tumors EcSOD mRNA was significantly lower as early as stage I, and the EcSOD promoter was hypermethylated in 8/10 (80%) adenocarcinomas compared to 0/5 normal lung samples. In addition, 20% of the tumors showed LOH of EcSOD. Re-expression of EcSOD attenuated the malignant phenotype of lung carcinoma cells by significantly decreasing invasion and survival. Finally, EcSOD decreased heparanase and syndecan-1 mRNAs in part by reducing NF-κB. By contrast, MnSOD and CuZnSOD showed no significant changes in lung tumors and had no effect on heparanase expression. Taken together, the loss of EcSOD expression is unique among the superoxide dismutases in lung cancer and is the result of EcSOD promoter methylation and LOH, suggesting that its early loss may contribute to ECM remodeling and malignant progression.
PMCID: PMC3262094  PMID: 22064654
SOD3; EcSOD; Heparanase; Syndecan-1; NF-κB; DNA methylation
15.  Regulation of SOD2 in Cancer by Histone Modifications and CpG Methylation: Closing the Loop Between Redox Biology and Epigenetics 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(15):1946-1955.
Significance: Manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2), encoded by the nuclear gene SOD2, is a critical mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme whose activity has broad implications in health and disease. Thirty years ago, Oberley and Buettner elegantly folded SOD2 into cancer biology with the free radical theory of cancer, which was built on the observation that many human cancers had reduced SOD2 activity. In the original formulation, the loss of SOD2 in tumor cells produced a state of perpetual oxidative stress, which, in turn, drove genetic instability, leading to cancer development. Recent Advances: In the past two decades, research has established that SOD2 transcriptional activity is controlled, at least in part, via epigenetic mechanisms at different stages in the development of human cancer. These mechanisms, which include histone methylation, histone acetylation, and DNA methylation, are increasingly recognized as being aberrantly regulated in human cancer. Indeed, the epigenetic progenitor model proposed by Henikoff posits that epigenetic events are central governing agents of carcinogenesis. Important recent advances in epigenetics research have indicated that the loss of SOD activity itself may contribute to changes in epigenetic regulation, establishing a vicious cycle that drives further epigenetic instability. Critical Issues: With these observations in mind, we propose an epigenetic revision to the free radical theory of cancer: that loss of SOD activity promotes epigenetic aberrancies, driving the epigenetic instability in tumor cells which produces broad phenotypic effects. Future Directions: The development of next-generation sequencing technologies and novel approaches in systems biology and bioinformatics promise to make testing this exciting model a reality in the near future. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1946–1955.
PMCID: PMC3624766  PMID: 22946823
16.  Epigenetic mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension 
Pulmonary Circulation  2011;1(3):347-356.
Epigenetics refers to changes in phenotype and gene expression that occur without alterations in DNA sequence. Epigenetic modifications of the genome can be acquired de novo and are potentially heritable. This review focuses on the emerging recognition of a role for epigenetics in the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Lessons learned from the epigenetics in cancer and neurodevelopmental diseases, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, can be applied to PAH. These syndromes suggest that there is substantial genetic and epigenetic cross-talk such that a single phenotype can result from a genetic cause, an epigenetic cause, or a combined abnormality. There are three major mechanisms of epigenetic regulation, including methylation of CpG islands, mediated by DNA methyltransferases, modification of histone proteins, and microRNAs. There is substantial interaction between these epigenetic mechanisms. Recently, it was discovered that there may be an epigenetic component to PAH. In PAH there is downregulation of superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) and normoxic activation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1α). This decrease in SOD2 results from methylation of CpG islands in SOD2 by lung DNA methyltransferases. The partial silencing of SOD2 alters redox signaling, activates HIF-1α) and leads to excessive cell proliferation. The same hyperproliferative epigenetic abnormality occurs in cancer. These epigenetic abnormalities can be therapeutically reversed. Epigenetic mechanisms may mediate gene-environment interactions in PAH and explain the great variability in susceptibility to stimuli such as anorexigens, virus, and shunts. Epigenetics may be relevant to the female predisposition to PAH and the incomplete penetrance of BMPR2 mutations in familial PAH.
PMCID: PMC3224426  PMID: 22140624
CpG islands; DNA methyl transferases; histone acetylation; small inhibitor RNA; superoxide dismutase 2
17.  Extracellular SOD-Derived H2O2 Promotes VEGF Signaling in Caveolae/Lipid Rafts and Post-Ischemic Angiogenesis in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10189.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), in particular, H2O2, is essential for full activation of VEGF receptor2 (VEGFR2) signaling involved in endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration. Extracellular superoxide dismutase (ecSOD) is a major secreted extracellular enzyme that catalyzes the dismutation of superoxide to H2O2, and anchors to EC surface through heparin-binding domain (HBD). Mice lacking ecSOD show impaired postnatal angiogenesis. However, it is unknown whether ecSOD-derived H2O2 regulates VEGF signaling. Here we show that gene transfer of ecSOD, but not ecSOD lacking HBD (ecSOD-ΔHBD), increases H2O2 levels in adductor muscle of mice, and promotes angiogenesis after hindlimb ischemia. Mice lacking ecSOD show reduction of H2O2 in non-ischemic and ischemic limbs. In vitro, overexpression of ecSOD, but not ecSOD-ΔHBD, in cultured medium in ECs enhances VEGF-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGFR2 (VEGFR2-pY), which is prevented by short-term pretreatment with catalase that scavenges extracellular H2O2. Either exogenous H2O2 (<500 µM), which is diffusible, or nitric oxide donor has no effect on VEGF-induced VEGFR2-pY. These suggest that ecSOD binding to ECs via HBD is required for localized generation of extracellular H2O2 to regulate VEGFR2-pY. Mechanistically, VEGF-induced VEGFR2-pY in caveolae/lipid rafts, but non-lipid rafts, is enhanced by ecSOD, which localizes at lipid rafts via HBD. One of the targets of ROS is protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs). ecSOD induces oxidation and inactivation of both PTP1B and DEP1, which negatively regulates VEGFR2-pY, in caveolae/lipid rafts, but not non-lipid rafts. Disruption of caveolae/lipid rafts, or PTPs inhibitor orthovanadate, or siRNAs for PTP1B and DEP1 enhances VEGF-induced VEGFR2-pY, which prevents ecSOD-induced effect. Functionally, ecSOD promotes VEGF-stimulated EC migration and proliferation. In summary, extracellular H2O2 generated by ecSOD localized at caveolae/lipid rafts via HBD promotes VEGFR2 signaling via oxidative inactivation of PTPs in these microdomains. Thus, ecSOD is a potential therapeutic target for angiogenesis-dependent cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC2858087  PMID: 20422004
18.  Epigenetic Changes in Mitochondrial Superoxide Dismutase in the Retina and the Development of Diabetic Retinopathy 
Diabetes  2011;60(4):1304-1313.
To investigate the role of epigenetic regulation of the manganese superoxide dismutase gene (sod2) in the development of diabetic retinopathy and the metabolic memory phenomenon associated with its continued progression after hyperglycemia is terminated.
Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were maintained in poor glycemic control (PC, GHb ∼12%) or in good glycemic control (GC, GHb ∼7.0%) for 4 months, or were allowed to maintain PC for 2 months, followed by GC for 2 additional months (PC-Rev). For experimental galactosemia, a group of normal rats were fed a 30% galactose diet for 4 months or for 2 months, followed by a normal diet for 2 additional months. Trimethyl histone H4 lysine 20 (H4K20me3), acetyl histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9), and nuclear transcriptional factor NF-κB p65 and p50 at the retinal sod2 promoter and enhancer were examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation.
Hyperglycemia (diabetes or galactosemia) increased H4K20me3, acetyl H3K9, and NF-κB p65 at the promoter and enhancer of retinal sod2, upregulated protein and gene expression of SUV420h2, and increased the interactions of acetyl H3K9 and NF-κB p65 to H4K20me3. Reversal of hyperglycemia failed to prevent increases in H4K20me3, acetyl H3K9, and NF-κB p65 at sod2, and sod2 and SUV420h2 continued to be abnormal. Silencing SUV420h2 by its small interfering RNA in retinal endothelial cells prevented a glucose-induced increase in H4K20me3 at the sod2 enhancer and a decrease in sod2 transcripts.
Increased H4K20me3 at sod2 contributes to its downregulation and is important in the development of diabetic retinopathy and in the metabolic memory phenomenon. Targeting epigenetic changes may serve as potential therapeutic targets to retard the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy.
PMCID: PMC3064104  PMID: 21357467
19.  Role of copper transport protein Antioxidant-1 in Angiotensin II-induced hypertension: A key regulator of Extracellular SOD 
Hypertension  2012;60(2):476-486.
Extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) is a secretory copper enzyme involved in protecting angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced hypertension. We previously found that Ang II upregulates SOD3 expression and activity as a counter-regulatory mechanism; however, underlying mechanisms are unclear. Antioxidant-1 (Atox1) is shown to act as a copper-dependent transcription factor as well as copper chaperone for SOD3 in vitro, but its role in Ang II-induced hypertension in vivo is unknown. Here we show that Ang II infusion increases Atox1 expression as well as SOD3 expression and activity in aortas of wild-type mice, which are inhibited in mice lacking Atox1. Accordingly, Ang II increases vascular O2•− production, reduces endothelium-dependent vasodilation and increases vasoconstriction in mesenteric arterioles to a greater extent in Atox1−/− than in wild-type mice. This contributes to augmented hypertensive response to Ang II in Atox1−/− mice. In cultured vascular smooth muscle cells, Ang II promotes translocation of Atox1 to the nucleus, thereby increasing SOD3 transcription by binding to Atox1 responsive element in the SOD3 promoter. Furthermore, Ang II increases Atox1 binding to the copper exporter ATP7A which obtains copper from Atox1 as well as translocation of ATP7A to plasma membranes where it colocalizes with SOD3. As its consequence, Ang II decreases vascular copper levels, which is inhibited in Atox1−/− mice. In summary, Atox1 functions to prevent Ang II-induced endothelial dysfunction and hyper-contraction in resistant vessels as well as hypertension in vivo by reducing extracellular O2•− levels via increasing vascular SOD3 expression and activity.
PMCID: PMC3415283  PMID: 22753205
Angiotensin II; Hypertension; Oxidative stress; Antioxidant 1; SOD3; SOD1; Copper
Hypertension  2011;58(2):232-239.
Prior studies indicate that superoxide (O2•−) is important in modulation of blood pressure, but have not specifically identified the cell types or organs involved. We created mice with loxP sites flanking the extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) gene. These mice were crossed with mice expressing inducible Cre-recombinase driven by the smooth muscle myosin heavy chain promoter allowing tissue specific deletion of SOD3. Deletion of SOD3 increased vascular O2•− and reduced vascular NO levels as detected by ESR. Despite these changes in NO and O2•−, we did not observe increases in vascular inflammation caused by angiotensin II. Moreover, deletion of vascular SOD3 did not augment hypertension in response to angiotensin II. In additional studies, we also deleted SOD3 from the circumventricular organs by intracerebroventricular injection of an adenovirus encoding Cre-recombinase. While this raised blood pressure and augmented the hypertension caused by angiotensin II, these responses were not further increased by vascular deletion of SOD3. These data suggests that the extracellular superoxide dismutase in vascular smooth muscle is not involved in the genesis of angiotensin II-induced hypertension and further emphasize the role of central SOD3 in modulation of blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC3376381  PMID: 21730294
Superoxide dismutase; blood pressure; inflammation; vasculature; central nervous system
21.  Hydrogen Peroxide Regulates Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase Activity and Expression in Neonatal Pulmonary Hypertension 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;15(6):1497-1506.
We previously demonstrated that superoxide and H2O2 promote pulmonary arterial vasoconstriction in a lamb model of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Because extracellular superoxide dismutase (ecSOD) augments vasodilation, we hypothesized that H2O2-mediated ecSOD inactivation contributes to pulmonary arterial vasoconstriction in PPHN lambs. ecSOD activity was decreased in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) isolated from PPHN lambs relative to controls. Exposure to 95% O2 to mimic hyperoxic ventilation reduced ecSOD activity in control PASMCs. In both cases, these events were associated with increased protein thiol oxidation, as detected by the redox sensor roGFP. Accordingly, exogenous H2O2 decreased ecSOD activity in control PASMCs, and PEG-catalase restored ecSOD activity in PPHN PASMCs. In intact animal studies, ecSOD activity was decreased in fetal PPHN lambs, and in PPHN lambs ventilated with 100% O2 relative to controls. In ventilated PPHN lambs, administration of a single dose of intratracheal PEG-catalase enhanced ecSOD activity, reduced superoxide levels, and improved oxygenation. We propose that H2O2 generated by PPHN and hyperoxia inactivates ecSOD, and intratracheal catalase enhances enzyme function. The associated decrease in extracellular superoxide augments vasodilation, suggesting that H2O2 scavengers may represent an effective therapy in the clinical management of PPHN. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1497–1506.
PMCID: PMC3151423  PMID: 20919937
22.  Attenuated vasodilatation in lambs with endogenous and exogenous activation of cGMP signaling: Role of protein kinase G nitration 
Journal of cellular physiology  2011;226(12):3104-3113.
Pulmonary vasodilation is mediated through the activation of protein kinase G (PKG) via a signaling pathway involving nitric oxide (NO), natriuretic peptides (NP), and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). In pulmonary hypertension secondary to congenital heart disease, this pathway is endogenously activated by an early vascular upregulation of NO and increased myocardial B-type NP expression and release. In the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, this pathway is exogenously activated using inhaled NO or other pharmacological agents. Despite this activation of cGMP, vascular dysfunction is present, suggesting that NO-cGMP independent mechanisms are involved and were the focus of this study. Exposure of pulmonary artery endothelial or smooth muscle cells to the NO donor, Spermine NONOate (SpNONOate), increased peroxynitrite (ONOO−) generation and PKG-1α nitration, while PKG-1α activity was decreased. These changes were prevented by superoxide dismutase (SOD) or manganese(III)tetrakis(1-methyl-4-pyridyl)porphyrin (MnTMPyP) and mimicked by the ONOO− donor, 3-morpholinosydnonimine N-ethylcarbamide (SIN-1). Peripheral lung extracts from 4-week old lambs with increased pulmonary blood flow and pulmonary hypertension (Shunt lambs with endogenous activation of cGMP) or juvenile lambs treated with inhaled NO for 24h (with exogenous activation of cGMP) revealed increased ONOO− levels, elevated PKG-1α nitration, and decreased kinase activity without changes in PKG-1α protein levels. However, in Shunt lambs treated with L-arginine or lambs administered polyethylene glycol conjugated-SOD (PEG-SOD) during inhaled NO exposure, ONOO− and PKG-1α nitration were diminished and kinase activity was preserved. Together our data reveal that vascular dysfunction can occur, despite elevated levels of cGMP, due to PKG-1α nitration and subsequent attenuation of activity.
PMCID: PMC3527072  PMID: 21351102
Peroxynitrite; cell signaling; pulmonary hypertension; nitration
23.  Inflammatory Cells as a Source of Airspace Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase after Pulmonary Injury 
Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) is an antioxidant abundant in the lung. Previous studies demonstrated depletion of lung parenchymal EC-SOD in mouse models of interstitial lung disease coinciding with an accumulation of EC-SOD in airspaces. EC-SOD sticks to the matrix by a proteolytically sensitive heparin-binding domain; therefore, we hypothesized that interstitial inflammation and matrix remodeling contribute to proteolytic redistribution of EC-SOD from lung parenchyma into the airspaces. To determine if inflammation limited to airspaces leads to EC-SOD redistribution, we examined a bacterial pneumonia model. This model led to increases in airspace polymorphonuclear leukocytes staining strongly for EC-SOD. EC-SOD accumulated in airspaces at 24 h without depletion of EC-SOD from lung parenchyma. This led us to hypothesize that airspace EC-SOD was released from inflammatory cells and was not a redistribution of matrix EC-SOD. To test this hypothesis, transgenic mice with lung-specific expression of human EC-SOD were treated with asbestos or bleomycin to initiate an interstitial lung injury. In these studies, EC-SOD accumulating in airspaces was entirely the mouse isoform, demonstrating an extrapulmonary source (inflammatory cells) for this EC-SOD. We also demonstrate that EC-SOD knockout mice possess greater lung inflammation in response to bleomycin and bacteria when compared with wild types. We conclude that the source of accumulating EC-SOD in airspaces in interstitial lung disease is inflammatory cells and not the lung and that interstitial processes such as those found in pulmonary fibrosis are required to remove EC-SOD from lung matrix.
PMCID: PMC2644184  PMID: 16224105
inflammation; neutrophils; pneumonia; proteolysis; superoxide dismutase
24.  Estradiol improves cardiovascular function through up-regulation of SOD2 on vascular wall 
Redox Biology  2014;3:88-99.
Epidemiological studies have shown that estrogens have protective effects in cardiovascular diseases, even though the results from human clinical trials remain controversial, while most of the animal experiments confirmed this effect, but the detailed mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we found that estradiol (E2) treatment significantly increases the expression of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2) in mice and in vitro in human aorta endothelial cells. Further investigation shows that E2 up-regulates SOD2 through tethering of estrogen receptor (ER) to Sp1 and the increased binding of Sp1 to GC-box on the SOD2 promoter, where ERα responses E2-mediated gene activation, and ERβ maintains basal gene expression level. The E2/ER-mediated SOD2 up-regulation results in minimized ROS generation, which highly favors healthy cardiovascular function. Gene therapy through lentivirus-carried endothelium-specific delivery to the vascular wall in high-fat diet (HFT) mice shows that the SOD2 expression in endothelial cells normalizes E2 deficiency-induced ROS generation with ameliorated mitochondrial dysfunction and vascular damage, while SOD2 knockdown worsens the problem despite the presence of E2, indicating that E2-induced SOD2 expression plays an important vasculoprotective role. To our knowledge, this is the first report for the mechanism by which E2 improves cardiovascular function through up-regulation of SOD2 in endothelial cells. In turn, this suggests a novel gene therapy through lentivirus-carried gene delivery to vascular wall for E2 deficiency-induced cardiovascular damage in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC4297935  PMID: 25462070
Endothelium; Estrogen receptor; Gene therapy; Mitochondrial function; Reactive oxygen species
25.  HIV-TAT mediated protein transduction of Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) protects skin cells from ionizing radiation 
Radiation-induced skin injury remains a serious concern during radiotherapy. Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD, SOD1) is a conserved enzyme for scavenging superoxide radical in cells. Because of the integrity of cell membranes, exogenous molecule is not able to be incorporated into cells, which limited the application of natural SOD1. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protective role of HIV-TAT protein transduction domain mediated protein transduction of SOD1 (TAT-SOD1) against ionizing radiation.
The recombinant TAT-SOD1 and SOD1 were obtained by prokaryotic–based protein expression system. The transduction effect and biological activity of TAT-SOD1 was measured by immunofluorescence and antioxidant capability assays in human keratinocyte HaCaT cells. Mito-Tracker staining, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation assay, cell apoptosis analysis and malondialdehyde (MDA) assay were used to access the protective effect of TAT- SOD1.
Uptake of TAT-SOD1 by HaCaT cells retained its biological activity. Compared with natural SOD1, the application of TAT-SOD1 significantly enhanced the viability and decreased the apoptosis induced by X-ray irradiation. Moreover, TAT-SOD1 reduced ROS and preserved mitochondrial integrity after radiation exposure in HaCaT cells. Radiation-induced γH2AX foci, which are representative of DNA double strand breaks, were decreased by pretreatment with TAT-SOD1. Furthermore, subcutaneous application of TAT-SOD1 resulted in a significant decrease in 45 Gy electron beam-induced ROS and MDA concentration in the skins of rats.
This study provides evidences for the protective role of TAT-SOD1 in alleviating radiation-induced damage in HaCaT cells and rat skins, which suggests a new therapeutic strategy for radiation-induced skin injury.
PMCID: PMC3839640  PMID: 24175971
Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1); Protein transduction domain (PTD); HIV-TAT domain; Radiation-induced skin injury

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