The accessory protein RAMP2 is a component of the CLR/RAMP2 dimeric adrenomedullin (AM) receptor and is the primary determinant of the vascular functionality of AM. RAMP2 is highly expressed in the brain; however, its function there remains unclear. We therefore used heterozygous RAMP2 knockout (RAMP2+/-) mice, in which RAMP2 expression was reduced by half, to examine the actions of the endogenous AM-RAMP2 system in cerebral ischemia. To induce acute or chronic ischemia, mice were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) or bilateral common carotid artery stenosis (BCAS), respectively. In RAMP2+/- mice subjected to MCAO, recovery of cerebral blood flow (CBF) was slower than in WT mice. AM gene expression was upregulated after infarction in both genotypes, but the increase was greater in RAMP2+/- mice. Pathological analysis revealed severe nerve cell death and demyelination, and a higher level of oxidative stress in RAMP2+/- mice. In RAMP2+/- mice subjected to BCAS, recovery of cerebral perfusion was slower and less complete than in WT mice. In an 8-arm radial maze test, RAMP2+/- mice required more time to solve the maze and showed poorer reference memory. They also showed greater reductions in nerve cells and less compensatory capillary growth than WT mice. These results indicate the AM-RAMP2 system works to protect nerve cells from both acute and chronic cerebral ischemia by maintaining CBF, suppressing oxidative stress, and in the case of chronic ischemia, enhancing capillary growth.
Adrenomedullin (AM) is a vasoactive peptide that possesses various bioactivities. AM receptors are dimers consisting of CLR with one of two accessory proteins, RAMP2 or RAMP3. The functional difference between CLR/RAMP2 and CLR/RAMP3 and the relationship between the two receptors remain unclear. To address these issues, we generated RAMP2 and RAMP3 knockout (-/-) mice and have been studying their physiological activities in the vascular system. AM-/- and RAMP2-/- mice die in utero due to blood vessel abnormalities, which is indicative of their essential roles in vascular development. In contrast, RAMP3-/- mice were born normally without any major abnormalities. In adult RAMP3-/- mice, postnatal angiogenesis was normal, but lymphangiography using indocyanine green (ICG) showed delayed drainage of subcutaneous lymphatic vessels. Moreover, chyle transport by intestinal lymphatics was delayed in RAMP3-/- mice, which also showed more severe interstitial edema than wild-type mice in a tail lymphedema model, with characteristic dilatation of lymphatic capillaries and accumulation of inflammatory cells. In scratch-wound assays, migration of isolated RAMP3-/- lymphatic endothelial cells was delayed as compared to wild-type cells, and AM administration failed to enhance the re-endothelialization. The delay in re-endothelialization was due to a primary migration defect rather than a decrease in proliferation. These results suggest that RAMP3 regulates drainage through lymphatic vessels, and that the AM-RAMP3 system could be a novel therapeutic target for controlling postoperative lymphedema.
Various bioactive peptides have been implicated in the homeostasis of organs and tissues. Adrenomedullin (AM) is a peptide with various bioactivities. AM-receptor, calcitonin-receptor-like receptor (CLR) associates with one of the subtypes of the accessory proteins, RAMPs. Among the RAMP subisoforms, only RAMP2 knockout mice ?/? reproduce the phenotype of embryonic lethality of AM?/?, illustrating the importance of the AM-RAMP2-signaling system. Although AM and RAMP2 are abundantly expressed in kidney, their function there remains largely unknown. We used genetically modified mice to assess the pathophysiological functions of the AM-RAMP2 system. RAMP2?/? mice and their wild-type littermates were used in a streptozotocin (STZ)-induced renal injury model. The effect of STZ on glomeruli did not differ between the 2 types of mice. On the other hand, damage to the proximal urinary tubules was greater in RAMP2?/?. Tubular injury in RAMP2?/? was resistant to correction of blood glucose by insulin administration. We examined the effect of STZ on human renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (RPTECs), which express glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2), the glucose transporter that specifically takes up STZ. STZ activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK). AM suppressed PERK activation, its downstream signaling, and CCAAT/enhancer-binding homologous protein (CHOP)-induced cell death. We confirmed that the tubular damage was caused by ER stress-induced cell death using tunicamycin (TUN), which directly evokes ER stress. In RAMP2?/? kidneys, TUN caused severe injury with enhanced ER stress. In wild-type mice, TUN-induced tubular damage was reversed by AM administration. On the other hand, in RAMP2?/?, the rescue effect of exogenous AM was lost. These results indicate that the AM-RAMP2 system suppresses ER stress-induced tubule cell death, thereby exerting a protective effect on kidney. The AM-RAMP2 system thus has the potential to serve as a therapeutic target in kidney disease.
Neointimal hyperplasia is the primary lesion underlying atherosclerosis and restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is produced by alternative splicing of the primary transcript of the calcitonin/CGRP gene. Originally identified as a strongly vasodilatory neuropeptide, CGRP is now known to be a pleiotropic peptide widely distributed in various organs and tissues. Our aim was to investigate the possibility that CGRP acts as an endogenous vasoprotective molecule. We compared the effect of CGRP deficiency on neointimal formation after wire-induced vascular injury in wild-type and CGRP knockout (CGRP-/-) mice. We found that neointimal formation after vascular injury was markedly enhanced in CGRP-/- mice, which also showed a higher degree of oxidative stress, as indicated by reduced expression of nitric oxide synthase, increased expression of p47phox, and elevated levels of 4HNE, as well as greater infiltration of macrophages. In addition, CGRP-deficiency led to increased vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation within the neointima. By contrast, bone marrow-derived cells had little or no effect on neointimal formation in CGRP-/-mice. In vitro analysis showed that CGRP-treatment suppressed VSMC proliferation, migration, and ERK1/2 activity. These results clearly demonstrate that endogenous CGRP suppresses the oxidative stress and VSMC proliferation induced by vascular injury. As a vasoprotective molecule, CGRP could be an important therapeutic target in cardiovascular disease.
Revealing the mechanisms underlying the functional integrity of the vascular system could make available novel therapeutic approaches. We previously showed that knocking out the widely expressed peptide adrenomedullin (AM) or receptor activity-modifying protein 2 (RAMP2), an AM-receptor accessory protein, causes vascular abnormalities and is embryonically lethal. Our aim was to investigate the function of the vascular AM-RAMP2 system directly.
Adrenomedullin (ADM) is an endogenous peptide first identified as a strong vasodilating molecule. We previously showed that in mice, homozygous knockout of ADM (ADM(-/-)) or its receptor regulating protein, RAMP2 (RAMP2(-/-)), is embryonically lethal due to abnormal vascular development, thereby demonstrating the importance of ADM and its receptor signaling to vascular development. ADM expression in the retina is strongly induced by ischemia; however, its role in retinal pathophysiology remains unknown. Here, we analyzed oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) using heterozygous ADM and RAMP2 knockout mice models (ADM(+/-) or RAMP2(+/-), respectively). In addition, we analyzed the role of the ADM-RAMP2 system during earlier stages of retinal angiogenesis using an inducible endothelial cell-specific RAMP2 knockout mouse line (DI-E-RAMP2(-/-)). Finally, we assessed the ability of antibody-induced ADM blockade to control pathological retinal angiogenesis in OIR. In OIR, neovascular tufts, avascular zones, and hypoxic areas were all smaller in ADM(+/-) retinas compared with wild-type mice. ADM(+/-) retinas also exhibited reduced levels of VEGF and eNOS expression. DI-E-RAMP2(-/-) showed abnormal retinal vascular patterns in the early stages of development. However, ADM enhanced the proliferation and migration of retinal endothelial cells. Finally, we found intravitreal injection of anti-ADM antibody reduced pathological retinal angiogenesis. In conclusion, the ADM-RAMP2 system is crucially involved in retinal angiogenesis. ADM and its receptor system are potential therapeutic targets for controlling pathological retinal angiogenesis.
Adrenomedullin (AM) was identified as a vasodilating and hypotensive peptide mainly produced by the cardiovascular system. The AM receptor calcitonin receptor-like receptor associates with receptor activity-modifying protein (RAMP), one of the subtypes of regulatory proteins. Among knockout mice ((-/-)) of RAMPs, only RAMP2(-/-) is embryonically lethal with cardiovascular abnormalities that are the same as AM(-/-). This suggests that the AM-RAMP2 system is particularly important for the cardiovascular system. Although AM and RAMP2 are highly expressed in the heart from embryo to adulthood, their analysis has been limited by the embryonic lethality of AM(-/-) and RAMP2(-/-). For this study, we generated inducible cardiac myocyte-specific RAMP2(-/-) (C-RAMP2(-/-)). C-RAMP2(-/-) exhibited dilated cardiomyopathy-like heart failure with cardiac dilatation and myofibril disruption. C-RAMP2(-/-) hearts also showed changes in mitochondrial structure and downregulation of mitochondria-related genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, ?-oxidation, and reactive oxygen species regulation. Furthermore, the heart failure was preceded by changes in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? coactivator 1? (PGC-1?), a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Metabolome and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) imaging analyses revealed early downregulation of cardiolipin, a mitochondrial membrane-specific lipid. Furthermore, primary-cultured cardiac myocytes from C-RAMP2(-/-) showed reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and enhanced reactive oxygen species production in a RAMP2 deletion-dependent manner. C-RAMP2(-/-) showed downregulated activation of cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), one of the main regulators of mitochondria-related genes. These data demonstrate that the AM-RAMP2 system is essential for cardiac metabolism and homeostasis. The AM-RAMP2 system is a promising therapeutic target of heart failure.
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are a useful source for various cell lineages. So far, however, progress toward reconstitution of mature liver morphology and function has been limited. We have shown that knockout mice deficient in adrenomedullin (AM), a multifunctional endogenous peptide, or its receptor-activity modifying protein (RAMP2) die in utero due to poor vascular development and hemorrhage within the liver. In this study, using embryoid bodies (EBs)-culture system, we successfully induced liver sinusoidal endothelial-like cells by modulation of AM-RAMP2. In an EB differentiation system, we found that co-administration of AM and SB431542, an inhibitor of transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) receptor type 1, markedly enhanced differentiation of lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 (LYVE-1)/stabilin-2-positive endothelial cells. These cells showed robust endocytosis of acetylated low-density lipoprotein (Ac-LDL) and upregulated expression of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs)-specific markers, including factor 8 (F8), Fc-? receptor 2b (Fcgr2b), and mannose receptor C type 1 (Mrc1), and also possessed fenestrae-like structure, a key morphological feature of LSECs. In RAMP2-null liver, by contrast, LYVE-1 was downregulated in LSECs, and the sinusoidal structure was disrupted. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-RAMP2 signaling for development of LSECs.
Donor organ damage caused by cold preservation is a major problem affecting liver transplantation. Cold preservation most easily damages liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs), and information about the molecules modulating LSECs function can provide the basis for new therapeutic strategies. Adrenomedullin (AM) is a peptide known to possess anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory properties. AM is abundant in vascular endothelial cells, but levels are comparatively low in liver, and little is known about its function there. In this study, we demonstrated both AM and its receptors are expressed in LSECs. AM treatment reduced LSECs loss and apoptosis under cold treatment. AM also downregulated cold-induced expression of TNFalpha, IL1beta, IL6, ICAM1 and VCAM1. AM reduced apoptosis and expression of ICAM1 and VCAM1 in an in vivo liver model subjected to cold storage. Conversely, apoptosis was exacerbated in livers from AM and RAMP2 (AM receptor activity-modifying protein) knockout mice. These results suggest that AM expressed in LSECs exerts a protective effect against cold-organ damage through modulation of apoptosis and inflammation.
Alpha-calcitonin gene-related peptide (alphaCGRP) is a 37-amino acid pleiotropic peptide that we previously showed to exert a hepatoprotective effect during concanavalin A (Con A)-induced acute hepatitis. In the present study, we used alphaCGRP(-/-) mice to further investigate the antifibrogenic and hepatoprotective effects of endogenous alphaCGRP in Con A-induced chronic hepatitis.
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