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1.  Malondialdehyde mediates oxidized LDL-induced coronary toxicity through the Akt-FGF2 pathway via DNA methylation 
Oxidized LDL (oxLDL) is involved in the development of atherosclerotic heart disease through a mechanism that is not fully understood. In this study, we examined the role of malondialdehyde (MDA), an important oxidative stress epitope of oxLDL, in mediating coronary endothelial cytotoxicity.
Human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) were treated with oxLDL in the presence or absence of antibody against MDA (anti-MDA) or apoB100 (anti-apoB100). In HCAECs treated with oxLDL (100 μg/ml) alone, DNA synthesis, cell viability, and expression of prosurvival fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) were significantly reduced (P < 0.01 vs phosphate buffered saline–treated cells). These inhibitory effects of oxLDL were significantly attenuated in HCAECs cotreated with anti-MDA (0.15 μg/ml; P < 0.05 vs oxLDL-treated cells), but not in those cotreated with anti-apoB100. When we tested the effects of a panel of signal transduction modifiers on the signal transduction pathways of MDA in oxLDL-treated HCAECs, we found that MDA-induced cytotoxicity was mediated partly through the Akt pathway. Using a reporter gene assay, we identified an oxLDL-response element in the FGF2 promoter that was responsible for the transcriptional repression of FGF2 by oxLDL. The results of bisulfite genomic DNA sequencing showed that in HCAECs treated with oxLDL, the GC-rich promoter of FGF2 was heavily methylated at cytosine residues, whereas cotreatment with anti-MDA markedly reduced oxLDL-induced FGF2 promoter methylation.
OxLDL disrupts the growth and survival of HCAECs through an MDA-dependent pathway involving methylation of the FGF2 promoter and repression of FGF2 transcription. This novel epigenetic mechanism of oxLDL may underlie its atherogenicity in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3931320  PMID: 24490960
DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Gene expression; Lipid oxidation; Lipoproteins; Malondialdehyde (MDA); Signal transduction
2.  Chemical composition–oriented receptor selectivity of L5, a naturally occurring atherogenic low-density lipoprotein 
Pure and applied chemistry. Chimie pure et appliquee  2011;83(9):10.1351/PAC-CON-10-12-07.
Anion-exchange chromatography resolves human plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) into 5 subfractions, with increasing negative surface charge in the direction of L1 to L5. Unlike the harmless L1 to L4, the exclusively atherogenic L5 is rejected by the normal LDL receptor (LDLR) but endocytosed into vascular endothelial cells through the lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1). Analysis with SDS-PAGE and 2-dimensional electrophoresis showed that the protein framework of L1 was composed mainly of apolipoprotein (apo) B100, with an isoelectric point (pI) of 6.620. There was a progressively increased association of additional proteins, including apoE (pI 5.5), apoAI (pI 5.4), apoCIII (pI 5.1), and apo(a) (pI 5.5), from L1 to L5. LC/MSE was used to quantify protein distribution in all subfractions. On the basis of weight percentages, L1 contained 99% apoB-100 and trace amounts of other proteins. In contrast, L5 contained 60% apoB100 and substantially increased amounts of apo(a), apoE, apoAI, and apoCIII. The compositional characteristics contribute to L5’s electronegativity, rendering it unrecognizable by LDLR. LOX-1, which has a high affinity for negatively charged ligands, is known to mediate the signaling of proinflammatory cytokines. Thus, the chemical composition–oriented receptor selectivity hinders normal metabolism of L5, enhancing its atherogenicity through abnormal receptors, such as LOX-1.
PMCID: PMC3816395  PMID: 24198440
low-density lipoprotein; apolipoproteins; electronegative; LDL receptor; LOX-1; atherosclerosis
3.  Effects of Electronegative VLDL on Endothelium Damage in Metabolic Syndrome 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(3):648-653.
Biochemical heterogeneity governs functional disparities among lipoproteins. We examined charge-defined VLDL subfractions in metabolic syndrome (MetS) to determine whether their increased electronegativity is associated with increased cytotoxicity and whether high concentrations of highly electronegative subfractions render VLDL harmful to the vascular endothelium.
Plasma VLDL of normal individuals (control subjects) (n = 13) and of those with MetS (n = 13) was resolved into subfractions with increasing negative charge (V1–V5) by anion-exchange chromatography. Human aortic endothelial cells were treated with V1–V5 or unfractionated VLDL.
Compared with the control subjects, individuals with MetS had a significantly higher percentage of V5 VLDL (V5/VLDL%) (34 ± 20 vs. 39 ± 11%, respectively; P < 0.05) and plasma V5 concentration ([V5]) (5.5 ± 4.4 vs. 15.2 ± 8.5 mg/dL, respectively; P < 0.001). Apolipoprotein (apo)B100 levels decreased and apoC levels increased from V1 to V5, indicating that V5 is apoC-rich VLDL. Regression analyses of all 26 individuals showed that [V5] was positively correlated with total cholesterol (P = 0.016), triglyceride (P < 0.000001), and V5/VLDL% (P = 0.002). Fasting plasma glucose, but not waist circumference, exhibited a positive trend (P = 0.058); plasma HDL cholesterol exhibited a weak inverse trend (P = 0.138). V5 (10 μg/mL) induced apoptosis in ~50% of endothelial cells in 24 h. V5 was the most rapidly (<15 min) internalized subfraction and induced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in endothelial cells after 20 min. Unfractionated MetS VLDL, but not control VLDL, also induced ROS production and endothelial cell apoptosis.
In populations with increased risk of diabetes, the vascular endothelium is constantly exposed to VLDL that contains a high proportion of V5. The potential impact of V5-rich VLDL warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3322679  PMID: 22279032
4.  Real-Time PCR Analysis of the Intestinal Microbiotas in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients 
Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can beneficially affect the host by producing acetic acid and lactic acid, which lower pH and thereby inhibit the growth of pathogens or allow the probiotic bacteria to compete with pathogens for epithelial adhesion sites and nutrients. The transmural migration of enteric organisms into the peritoneal cavity can cause peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. We hypothesized that the composition of the intestinal microbiota with regard to Lactobacillus species and Bifidobacterium species differed between PD patients and healthy controls. The aim of the study was to investigate these differences by real-time PCR analysis of fecal samples. From 1 August 2009 to 31 March 2010, a total of 29 nondiabetic PD patients and 41 healthy controls from China Medical University Hospital were recruited after giving their informed consent. Fecal samples were collected from the PD patients and their age-matched counterparts in the morning using a standardized procedure. DNA extracted from these samples was analyzed by real-time PCR. All bifidobacteria, Bifidobacterium catenulatum, B. longum, B. bifidum, Lactobacillus plantarum, L. paracasei, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were less frequently detected in the patient samples. Dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) may impair intestinal barrier function and increase host vulnerability to pathogen invasion. Further studies are necessary to confirm our findings before clinical trials with probiotic supplementation in PD patients.
PMCID: PMC3273023  PMID: 22179250
6.  Gender disparity in LDL-induced cardiovascular damage and the protective role of estrogens against electronegative LDL 
Increased levels of the most electronegative type of LDL, L5, have been observed in the plasma of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and can induce endothelial dysfunction. Because men have a higher predisposition to developing coronary artery disease than do premenopausal women, we hypothesized that LDL electronegativity is increased in men and promotes endothelial damage.
L5 levels were compared between middle-aged men and age-matched, premenopausal women with or without MetS. We further studied the effects of gender-influenced LDL electronegativity on aortic cellular senescence and DNA damage in leptin receptor–deficient (db/db) mice by using senescence-associated–β-galactosidase and γH2AX staining, respectively. We also studied the protective effects of 17β-estradiol and genistein against electronegative LDL–induced senescence in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs).
L5 levels were higher in MetS patients than in healthy subjects (P < 0.001), particularly in men (P = 0.001). LDL isolated from male db/db mice was more electronegative than that from male or female wild-type mice. In addition, LDL from male db/db mice contained abundantly more apolipoprotein CIII and induced more BAEC senescence than did female db/db or wild-type LDL. In the aortas of db/db mice but not wild-type mice, we observed cellular senescence and DNA damage, and the effect was more significant in male than in female db/db mice. Pretreatment with 17β-estradiol or genistein inhibited BAEC senescence induced by male or female db/db LDL and downregulated the expression of lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha protein.
The gender dichotomy of LDL-induced cardiovascular damage may underlie the increased propensity to coronary artery disease in men.
PMCID: PMC3974745  PMID: 24666525
Electronegative low-density lipoprotein; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular disease; Aortic senescence; 17β-estradiol; Genistein
7.  Electronegative Low-Density Lipoprotein Increases C-Reactive Protein Expression in Vascular Endothelial Cells through the LOX-1 Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70533.
Increased plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are associated with the occurrence and severity of acute coronary syndrome. We investigated whether CRP can be generated in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) after exposure to the most electronegative subfraction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), L5, which is atherogenic to ECs. Because L5 and CRP are both ligands for the lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1), we also examined the role of LOX-1.
Methods and Results
Plasma LDL samples isolated from asymptomatic hypercholesterolemic (LDL cholesterol [LDL-C] levels, 154.6±20 mg/dL; n = 7) patients and normocholesterolemic (LDL-C levels, 86.1±21 mg/dL; P<0.001; n = 7) control individuals were chromatographically resolved into 5 subfractions, L1-L5. The L5 percentage (L5%) and the plasma L5 concentration ([L5]  =  L5% × LDL-C) in the patient and control groups were 8.1±2% vs. 2.3±1% (P<0.001) and 12.6±4 mg/dL vs. 1.9±1 mg/dL (P<0.001), respectively. In hypercholesterolemic patients treated with atorvastatin for 6 months (10 mg/day), [L5] decreased from 12.6±4 mg/dL to 4.5±1.1 mg/dL (P = 0.011; n = 5), whereas both [L5] and L5% returned to baseline levels in 2 noncompliant patients 3 months after discontinuation. In cultured human aortic ECs (HAECs), L5 upregulated CRP expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner up to 2.5-fold (P<0.01), whereas the least electronegative subfraction, L1, had no effect. DiI-labeled L1, internalized through the LDL receptor, became visible inside HAECs within 30 seconds. In contrast, DiI-labeled L5, internalized through LOX-1, became apparent after 5 minutes. L5-induced CRP expression manifested at 30 minutes and was attenuated by neutralizing LOX-1. After 30 minutes, L5 but not L1 induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Both L5-induced ROS and CRP production were attenuated by ROS inhibitor N-acetyl cysteine.
Our results suggest that CRP, L5, and LOX-1 form a cyclic mechanism in atherogenesis and that reducing plasma L5 levels with atorvastatin disrupts the vascular toxicity of L5.
PMCID: PMC3738565  PMID: 23950953
8.  Identification of the HDL-ApoCIII to VLDL-ApoCIII ratio as a predictor of coronary artery disease in the general population: The Chin-Shan Community Cardiovascular Cohort (CCCC) study in Taiwan 
Apolipoprotein (Apo) levels are considered more reliable than plasma lipoprotein levels for predicting coronary artery disease (CAD). However, a unanimous Apo marker for CAD has not been identified. In the Chin-Shan Community Cardiovascular Cohort (CCCC), we sought to identify a common Apo marker for predicting CAD in the general population.
We examined the cross-sectional association between Apo markers and CAD in the CCCC from 1990 to 2001. Among 3,602 subjects, 90 had angiographically proven CAD (>50% stenosis in ≥1 vessel), and 200 did not have CAD. These subjects were divided into the following 4 groups for analysis: normolipidemic (total cholesterol [TC] <200 mg/dL, triglyceride [TG] <150 mg/dL), hypertriglyceridemic (TC <200 mg/dL, TG ≥150 mg/dL), hypercholesterolemic (TC ≥200 mg/dL, TG <150 mg/dL), and hyperlipidemic (TC ≥200 mg/dL, TG ≥150 mg/dL).
Compatible with findings in other populations, our results showed that CAD patients in the CCCC had higher ApoB and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and ApoAI concentrations than non-CAD subjects, but the differences were not significant in all groups. Plasma concentrations of ApoE and lipoprotein (a) were not consistently correlated with CAD. In contrast, the ratio of HDL-ApoCIII to very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-ApoCIII was the only universal determinant for CAD in the normolipidemic group (P=0.0018), the hypertriglyceridemic group (P=0.0001), the hypercholesterolemic group (P=0.0001), and the hyperlipidemic group (P=0.0001). Overall, a high HDL-ApoCIII/VLDL-ApoCIII ratio was observed in all CAD patients, including those with a normal lipid profile. In multivariate analyses, the HDL-ApoCIII/VLDL-ApoCIII ratio was the strongest predictor for CAD among all lipid factors investigated (odds ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.46–2.84; P<0.0001).
A high HDL-ApoCIII to VLDL-ApoCIII ratio is a better marker for predicting CAD than are the conventional lipid markers or ApoAI and ApoB. High HDL-ApoCIII and low VLDL-ApoCIII values in CAD, irrespective of lipid variations, suggest that ApoCIII is markedly transported from VLDL to HDL in this disease. Measurement of plasma ApoCIII may improve CAD prediction in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3543287  PMID: 23173569
Apolipoproteins; Coronary artery disease; Lipoproteins; Cardiovascular risk factors; Chin-Shan Community Cardiovascular Cohort (CCCC) Study; High-density lipoprotein (HDL); Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL); Apolipoprotein CIII (ApoCIII)

Results 1-8 (8)