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1.  Galectin‐3, a Biomarker Linking Oxidative Stress and Inflammation With the Clinical Outcomes of Patients With Atherothrombosis 
Galectin‐3 (Gal‐3) participates in different mechanisms involved in atherothrombosis, such as inflammation, proliferation, or macrophage chemotaxis. Thus, there have been committed intensive efforts to elucidate the function of Gal‐3 in cardiovascular (CV) diseases. The role of Gal‐3 as a circulating biomarker has been demonstrated in patients with heart failure, but its importance as a biomarker in atherothrombosis is still unknown.
Methods and Results
Because Gal‐3 is involved in monocyte‐to‐macrophage transition, we used fresh isolated monocytes and the in vitro model of macrophage differentiation of THP‐1 cells stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). Gal‐3 release is increased by PMA in human monocytes and macrophages, a process involving exosomes and regulated by reactive oxygen species/NADPH oxidase activity. In asymptomatic subjects (n=199), Gal‐3 plasma levels are correlated with NADPH oxidase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (r=0.476; P<0.001) and carotid intima‐media thickness (r=0.438; P<0.001), a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. Accordingly, Gal‐3 plasma concentrations are increased in patients with carotid atherosclerosis (n=158), compared to control subjects (n=115; 14.3 [10.7 to 16.9] vs. 10.4 [8.6 to 12.5] ng/mL; P<0.001). Finally, on a 5‐year follow‐up study in patients with peripheral artery disease, Gal‐3 concentrations are significantly and independently associated with an increased risk for CV mortality (hazard ratio=2.24, 95% confidence interval: 1.06 to 4.73, P<0.05).
Gal‐3 extracellular levels could reflect key underlying mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis etiology, development, and plaque rupture, such as inflammation, infiltration of circulating cells and oxidative stress. Moreover, circulating Gal‐3 concentrations are associated with clinical outcomes in patients with atherothrombosis.
PMCID: PMC4310363  PMID: 25095870
atherothrombosis; biomarkers; inflammation; mortality; oxidative stress
3.  Cell Stress Proteins in Atherothrombosis 
Cell stress proteins (CSPs) are a large and heterogenous family of proteins, sharing two main characteristics: their levels and/or location are modified under stress and most of them can exert a chaperon function inside the cells. Nonetheless, they are also involved in the modulation of several mechanisms, both at the intracellular and the extracellular compartments. There are more than 100 proteins belonging to the CSPs family, among them the thioredoxin (TRX) system, which is the focus of the present paper. TRX system is composed of several proteins such as TRX and peroxiredoxin (PRDX), two thiol-containing enzymes that are key players in redox homeostasis due to their ability to scavenge potential harmful reactive oxygen species. In addition to their main role as antioxidants, recent data highlights their function in several processes such as cell signalling, immune inflammatory responses, or apoptosis, all of them key mechanisms involved in atherothrombosis. Moreover, since TRX and PRDX are present in the pathological vascular wall and can be secreted under prooxidative conditions to the circulation, several studies have addressed their role as diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
PMCID: PMC3389727  PMID: 22792412
4.  Metabolomics with LC-QTOF-MS Permits the Prediction of Disease Stage in Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm Based on Plasma Metabolic Fingerprint 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31982.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a permanent and localized aortic dilation, defined as aortic diameter ≥3 cm. It is an asymptomatic but potentially fatal condition because progressive enlargement of the abdominal aorta is spontaneously evolving towards rupture.
Biomarkers may help to explain pathological processes of AAA expansion, and allow us to find novel therapeutic strategies or to determine the efficiency of current therapies. Metabolomics seems to be a good approach to find biomarkers of AAA. In this study, plasma samples of patients with large AAA, small AAA, and controls were fingerprinted with LC-QTOF-MS. Statistical analysis was used to compare metabolic fingerprints and select metabolites that showed a significant change. Results presented here reveal that LC-QTOF-MS based fingerprinting of plasma from AAA patients is a very good technique to distinguish small AAA, large AAA, and controls. With the use of validated PLS-DA models it was possible to classify patients according to the disease stage and predict properly the stage of additional AAA patients. Identified metabolites indicate a role for sphingolipids, lysophospholipids, cholesterol metabolites, and acylcarnitines in the development and progression of AAA. Moreover, guanidinosuccinic acid, which mimics nitric oxide in terms of its vasodilatory action, was found as a strong marker of large AAA.
PMCID: PMC3286447  PMID: 22384120
5.  Local Non-Esterified Fatty Acids Correlate With Inflammation in Atheroma Plaques of Patients With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2010;59(6):1292-1301.
Atherosclerosis is prevalent in diabetic patients, but there is little information on the localization of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) within the plaque and their relationship with inflammation. We sought to characterize the NEFA composition and location in human diabetic atheroma plaques by metabolomic analysis and imaging and to address their relationship with inflammation activity.
Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) was used for metabolomic analysis imaging of frozen carotid atheroma plaques. Carotid endarterectomy specimens were used for conventional immunohistochemistry, laser-capture microdissection quantitative PCR, and in situ Southwestern hybridization. Biological actions of linoleic acid were studied in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs).
TOF-SIMS imaging evidenced a significant increase in the quantity of several NEFA in diabetic versus nondiabetic atheroma plaques. Higher levels of NEFA were also found in diabetic sera. The presence of LPL mRNA in NEFA-rich areas of the atheroma plaque, as well as the lack of correlation between serum and plaque NEFA, suggests a local origin for plaque NEFA. The pattern of distribution of plaque NEFA is similar to that of MCP-1, LPL, and activated NF-κB. Diabetic endarterectomy specimens showed higher numbers of infiltrating macrophages and T-lymphocytes—a finding that associated with higher NEFA levels. Finally, linoleic acid activates NF-κB and upregulates NF-κB–mediated LPL and MCP-1 expression in cultured VSMC.
There is an increased presence of NEFA in diabetic plaque neointima. NEFA levels are higher in diabetic atheroma plaques than in nondiabetic subjects. We hypothesize that NEFA may be produced locally and contribute to local inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2874689  PMID: 20200316
6.  Animal Models of Cardiovascular Diseases 
Cardiovascular diseases are the first leading cause of death and morbidity in developed countries. The use of animal models have contributed to increase our knowledge, providing new approaches focused to improve the diagnostic and the treatment of these pathologies. Several models have been developed to address cardiovascular complications, including atherothrombotic and cardiac diseases, and the same pathology have been successfully recreated in different species, including small and big animal models of disease. However, genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in cardiovascular pathophysiology, making difficult to match a particular disease, with a single experimental model. Therefore, no exclusive method perfectly recreates the human complication, and depending on the model, additional considerations of cost, infrastructure, and the requirement for specialized personnel, should also have in mind. Considering all these facts, and depending on the budgets available, models should be selected that best reproduce the disease being investigated. Here we will describe models of atherothrombotic diseases, including expanding and occlusive animal models, as well as models of heart failure. Given the wide range of models available, today it is possible to devise the best strategy, which may help us to find more efficient and reliable solutions against human cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3042667  PMID: 21403831
7.  Glycosylated VCAM-1 isoforms revealed in 2D western blots of HUVECs treated with tumoral soluble factors of breast cancer cells 
Several common aspects of endothelial phenotype, such as the expression of cell adhesion molecules, are shared between metastasis and inflammation. Here, we analyzed VCAM-1 variants as biological markers of these two types of endothelial cell activation. With the combination of 2-DE and western blot techniques and the aid of tunicamycin, we analyzed N-glycosylation variants of VCAM-1 in primary human endothelial cells stimulated with either TNF or tumoral soluble factors (TSF's) derived from the human breast cancer cell line ZR75.30.
Treatments induced a pro-adhesive endothelial phenotype. 2D western blots analysis of cells subjected to both treatments revealed the expression of the two known VCAM-1 isoforms and of previously unknown isoforms. In particular TSFZR75.30 induced an isoform with a relative molecular mass (Mr) and isoelectric point (pI) of 75-77 kDa and 5.0, respectively.
The unknown isoforms of VCAM-1 that were found to be overexpressed after treatment with TSF's compared with TNF, could serve as biomarkers to discriminate between inflammation and metastasis. 2D western blots revealed three new VCAM-1 isoforms expressed in primary human endothelial cells in response to TSF stimulation. Each of these isoforms varies in Mr and pI and could be the result of differential glycosylation states.
PMCID: PMC2787495  PMID: 19930605
8.  Plasminogen activation: a mediator of vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques 
Apoptosis of vascular cells is considered to be a major determinant of atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability and potential rupture. Plasmin can be generated in atherosclerotic plaques and recent in vitro data suggest that plasminogen activation may trigger vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) apoptosis.
To determine whether plasminogen activation may induce aortic VSMC apoptosis ex vivo and in vivo.
Methods and results
Mice with single or combined deficiencies of ApoE and PAI-1 were used. Ex vivo incubation of plasminogen (1.3 μM) with isolated aortic tunica media from PAI-1-deficient mice induced plasminogen activation and VSMC apoptosis, which was inhibited by α2-antiplasmin. In vivo, levels of plasmin, active caspase 3 and VSMC apoptotic index were significantly higher in atherosclerotic aortas from mice with combined ApoE−/− and PAI-1−/− deficiencies than in those from littermates with single ApoE deficiency. A parallel decrease in VSMC density was also observed.
These data strongly suggest that, in vivo, plasminogen activation may contribute to VSMC apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques.
PMCID: PMC2244648  PMID: 16460449
Animals; Antiplasmin; pharmacology; Aorta; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; Apolipoproteins E; genetics; Apoptosis; Atherosclerosis; metabolism; pathology; Disease Models; Animal; Mice; Mice; Inbred C57BL; Mice; Knockout; Muscle; Smooth; Vascular; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; Plasmin; metabolism; Plasminogen; metabolism; Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1; genetics; Tunica Media; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; apoptosis; atherosclerosis; genetically altered mice; plasminogen; vascular smooth muscle cell

Results 1-8 (8)