The success of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been limited by restenosis and stent thrombosis. Delayed or incomplete endothelial regeneration is believed to be a key factor responsible for these events. Developing a stent with an accelerated healing profile may be of benefit. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility and safety of seeding a bare metal stent (BMS) with human trophoblastic endovascular progenitor cells (hTEC) derived from human embryonic stem cells. A porcine coronary artery model was used to compare the rate and extent of endothelial regeneration and the degree of neointimal proliferation. Characterisation of hTEC confirmed a mixed progenitor and endothelial cell phenotype. The biodistribution and fate of hTEC were studied using radiolabelled 111Indium oxine and fluorescent in situ hybridisation. Scanning electron microscopy showed earlier endothelial coverage in hTEC-seeded stents as compared to similar BMS. hTEC-seeded BMS achieved complete stent coverage in three days. Quantitative coronary angiography, intravascular ultrasound assessment and histomorphometry showed no difference in neointimal hyperplasia between hTEC-seeded and control BMS. hTEC seeding of coronary stents is a novel and safe approach to accelerate endothelial regeneration without increasing neointimal proliferation.
Atherosclerosis is a pathological process with several inputs (biological, chemical, physiological, and others) interacting slowly over a lifetime leading to coronary artery disease, significant morbidity, and a limited lifespan. Over the past two decades, biologists have used experimental preparations from cells, animals, and man to understand the biology of atherosclerosis. Much has been discovered but our use of the standard gene-targeted experimental preparations is now nearing its limit. Better preparations to answer the remaining questions in the field of atherosclerosis biology are needed.
The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) family regulates fundamental physiological processes including apoptosis and metabolism. Although JNK2 is known to promote foam cell formation during atherosclerosis, the potential role of JNK1 is uncertain. We examined the potential influence of JNK1 and its negative regulator, MAP kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), on endothelial cell (EC) injury and early lesion formation using hypercholesterolemic LDLR(-/-) mice.
Bacterial infection contributes to diverse noninfectious diseases and worsens outcome after stroke. Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common infection in patients at risk of stroke, is a major cause of prolonged hospitalization and death of stroke patients, but how infection impacts clinical outcome is not known.
Platelets have a fundamental role in atherothrombosis, but their role in early atherogenesis is unclear. The P2Y12 receptor is responsible for amplifying and sustaining platelet activation and P2Y12 inhibition is crucial in modulating the vessel wall response to injury. We therefore examined the role of platelet vs. vessel wall P2Y12 in early atherogenesis and considered the use of P2Y12 antagonists ticagrelor and clopidogrel in modulating this process.
Genetic, dietary and immune factors contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in humans and mice. Complement activation is an integral part of the innate immune defence but also shapes cellular responses and influences directly triglyceride synthesis. Deficiency of Factor B of the alternative pathway (AP) of complement is beneficial in LDLR(-/-) mice fed a high fat diet. The serum glycoprotein properdin is a key positive regulator of the AP but has not been studied in experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis was assessed after feeding low fat (LFD) or high fat (HFD) Western type diets to newly generated LDLR(-/-) Properdin(KO) (LDLR(-/-)P(KO)) and LDLR-/-PWT mice. Lipids, lymphocytes and monocytes were similar among genotypes, genders and diets. Complement C3, but not C3adesarg, levels were enhanced in LDLR(-/-)P(KO) mice regardless of diet type or gender. Non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were decreased in male LDLR(-/-)P(KO) fed a HFD compared with controls. All mice showed significant atherosclerotic burden in aortae and at aortic roots but male LDLR(-/-) mice fed a LFD were affected to the greatest extent by the absence of properdin. The protective effect of properdin expression was overwhelmed in both genders of LDLR(-/-)mice when fed a HFD. We conclude that properdin plays an unexpectedly beneficial role in the development and progression of early atherosclerotic lesions.
Observational data associate lower levels of serum vitamin D with coronary artery calcification, cardiovascular events and mortality. However, there is little interventional evidence demonstrating that moderate vitamin D deficiency plays a causative role in cardiovascular disease. This study examined the cardiovascular effects of dietary vitamin D deficiency and of vitamin D receptor agonist (paricalcitol) administration in apolipoprotein E knockout mice.
Even within accepted normal ranges, higher serum phosphorus, dietary phosphorus density, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) are independent predictors of cardiovascular mortality. Lower serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) also predicts adverse cardiovascular outcomes. We hypothesized that vascular dysfunction accompanying subtle disturbances of these bone metabolism parameters would result in associations with increased low grade albuminuria.
Many people carry cerebral aneurysms but are generally unaware of their presence until they rupture, resulting in high morbidity or mortality. The pathogenesis and aetiology of aneurysms are largely unknown; however, a greater understanding, by analysing the genetic, molecular and haemodynamic risk factors involved in the initiation, enlargement, and rupture of aneurysms, could lead to effective prevention, early diagnosis and more effective treatment. The risk of aneurysm is increased by a family history of aneurysms, and amongst certain populations, namely in Japan and Finland. Several other risk factors are documented, including hypertension, smoking, alcohol consumption, and female sex. Studies indicate a higher occurrence of cerebral aneurysms in females compared to males. Oestrogen protects several components within the artery wall, and inhibits some of the inflammatory molecules that could cause aneurysms. At menopause, the oestrogen level decreases and the incidence of aneurysm increases. Haemodynamic stresses have been shown to be involved in the formation, growth and rupture of aneurysms. This is often associated with hypertension, which also increases the risk of aneurysm rupture. When an unruptured aneurysm is detected the decision to treat can be complicated, since only 1-2% of aneurysms eventually rupture. Haemodynamic simulation software offers an effective tool for the consideration of treatment options for patients who carry unruptured aneurysms. The assessment must consider the risks of interventional treatments versus non-interventional management options, such as controlling blood pressure.
The long-term failure of autologous saphenous vein bypass grafts due to neointimal thickening is a major clinical burden. Identifying novel strategies to prevent neointimal thickening is important. Thus, this study aimed to identify microRNAs (miRNAs) that are dysregulated during neointimal formation and determine their pathophysiological relevance following miRNA manipulation.
?(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient of marijuana, and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in animal models of cancer. This effect relies, at least in part, on the up-regulation of several endoplasmic reticulum stress-related proteins including the pseudokinase tribbles homologue-3 (TRIB3), which leads in turn to the inhibition of the AKT/mTORC1 axis and the subsequent stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells. Here, we took advantage of the use of cells derived from Trib3-deficient mice to investigate the precise mechanisms by which TRIB3 regulates the anti-cancer action of THC. Our data show that RasV(12)/E1A-transformed embryonic fibroblasts derived from Trib3-deficient mice are resistant to THC-induced cell death. We also show that genetic inactivation of this protein abolishes the ability of THC to inhibit the phosphorylation of AKT and several of its downstream targets, including those involved in the regulation of the AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis. Our data support the idea that THC-induced TRIB3 up-regulation inhibits AKT phosphorylation by regulating the accessibility of AKT to its upstream activatory kinase (the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2; mTORC2). Finally, we found that tumors generated by inoculation of Trib3-deficient cells in nude mice are resistant to THC anticancer action. Altogether, the observations presented here strongly support that TRIB3 plays a crucial role on THC anti-neoplastic activity. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Lipid Metabolism in Cancer.
A KIF6 variant in man has been reported to be associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes after myocardial infarction. No clear biological or physiological data exist for Kif6. We sought to investigate the impact of a deleterious KIF6 mutation on cardiac function in mice. Kif6 mutant mice were generated and verified. Cardiac function was assessed by serial echocardiography at baseline, after ageing and after exercise. Lipid levels were also measured. No discernable adverse lipid or cardiac phenotype was detected in Kif6 mutant mice. These data suggest that dysfunction of Kif6 is linked to other more complex biological/biochemical parameters or is unlikely to be of material consequence in cardiac function.
Epidemiological studies link higher serum phosphate and the phosphatonin fibroblast growth factor 23 with cardiovascular events and atheroma, and they link lower serum phosphate with insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. We investigated whether manipulating dietary phosphate influences atherogenesis or insulin sensitivity in mice.
Novel therapeutics targeting neutrophilic inflammation are a major unmet clinical need in acute and chronic inflammation. The timely induction of neutrophil apoptosis is critical for inflammation resolution, and it is thought that acceleration of apoptosis may facilitate resolution at inflammatory sites. We previously demonstrated that a death receptor ligand, TRAIL, accelerates neutrophil apoptosis in vitro. We examined the role of TRAIL in neutrophil-dominant inflammation in WT and TRAIL-deficient mice. TRAIL deficiency did not alter constitutive neutrophil apoptosis, whereas exogenous TRAIL accelerated apoptosis of murine peripheral blood neutrophils. We compared TRAIL-deficient and WT mice in two independent models of neutrophilic inflammation: bacterial LPS-induced acute lung injury and zymosan-induced peritonitis. In both models, TRAIL-deficient mice had an enhanced inflammatory response with increased neutrophil numbers and reduced neutrophil apoptosis. Correction of TRAIL deficiency and supraphysiological TRAIL signaling using exogenous protein enhanced neutrophil apoptosis and reduced neutrophil numbers in both inflammatory models with no evidence of effects on other cell types. These data indicate the potential therapeutic benefit of TRAIL in neutrophilic inflammation.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic progressive inflammatory disease which manifests in the arterial vascular tree. It is a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and contributes significantly to mortality in the developed world. Triggers for this inflammatory process are elevated levels of cholesterol, bacterial infection and obesity. The immune response in atherosclerosis is essentially pro-atherogenic, leading to lipid accumulation and cellular changes within the arterial wall. Small-animal models of atherosclerosis are used to study the relevance of candidate factors (cells, genes, diets) in the development and progression of lesions. From a multidisciplinary viewpoint, there are challenges and limitations to this approach. Activation of complement determines or modifies the outcome of acute and chronic inflammation. This review dissects the role of complement in the early development as well as the progressive manifestation of murine atherosclerosis and the advances in knowledge provided by the use of specific mouse models. It gives a critical overview of existing models, analyses seemingly conflicting results obtained with complement-deficient mouse models, highlights the importance of interrelationships between pro-coagulpant activity, adipose tissue, macrophages and complement, and uncovers exciting avenues of topical research.
Inflammatory mechanisms are proposed to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Previous studies have described PAH in fat-fed apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mice. We have reported that signaling in interleukin-1-receptor-knockout (IL-1R1(-/-)) mice leads to a reduction in diet-induced systemic atherosclerosis. We subsequently hypothesized that double-null (ApoE(-/-)/IL-1R1(-/-)) mice would show a reduced PAH phenotype compared with that of ApoE(-/-) mice. Male IL-1R1(-/-), ApoE(-/-), and ApoE(-/-)/IL-1R1(-/-) mice were fed regular chow or a high-fat diet (Paigen diet) for 8 weeks before phenotyping for PAH. No abnormal phenotype was observed in the IL-1R1(-/-) mice. Fat-fed ApoE(-/-) mice developed significantly increased right ventricular systolic pressure and substantial pulmonary vascular remodeling. Surprisingly, ApoE(-/-)/IL-1R1(-/-) mice showed an even more severe PAH phenotype. Further molecular investigation revealed the expression of a putative, alternatively primed IL-1R1 transcript expressed within the lungs but not aorta of ApoE(-/-)/IL-1R1(-/-) mice. Treatment of ApoE(-/-) and ApoE(-/-)/IL-1R1(-/-) mice with IL-1-receptor antagonist prevented progression of the PAH phenotype in both strains. Blocking IL-1 signaling may have beneficial effects in treating PAH, and alternative IL-1-receptor signaling in the lung may be important in driving PAH pathogenesis.
Chronic systemic inflammatory conditions, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and obesity are associated with increased risk of stroke, which suggests that systemic inflammation may contribute to the development of stroke in humans. The hypothesis that systemic inflammation may induce brain pathology can be tested in animals, and this was the key objective of the present study. First, we assessed inflammatory changes in the brain in rodent models of chronic, systemic inflammation. PET imaging revealed increased microglia activation in the brain of JCR-LA (corpulent) rats, which develop atherosclerosis and obesity, compared to the control lean strain. Immunostaining against Iba1 confirmed reactive microgliosis in these animals. An atherogenic diet in apolipoprotein E knock-out (ApoE(-/-)) mice induced microglial activation in the brain parenchyma within 8 weeks and increased expression of vascular adhesion molecules. Focal lipid deposition and neuroinflammation in periventricular and cortical areas and profound recruitment of activated myeloid phagocytes, T cells and granulocytes into the choroid plexus were also observed. In a small, preliminary study, patients at risk of stroke (multiple risk factors for stroke, with chronically elevated C-reactive protein, but negative MRI for brain pathology) exhibited increased inflammation in the brain, as indicated by PET imaging. These findings show that brain inflammation occurs in animals, and tentatively in humans, harbouring risk factors for stroke associated with elevated systemic inflammation. Thus a "primed" inflammatory environment in the brain may exist in individuals at risk of stroke and this can be adequately recapitulated in appropriate co-morbid animal models.
The bactericidal function of macrophages against pneumococci is enhanced by their apoptotic demise, which is controlled by the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1. Here, we show that lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) and cytosolic translocation of activated cathepsin D occur prior to activation of a mitochondrial pathway of macrophage apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition or knockout of cathepsin D during pneumococcal infection blocked macrophage apoptosis. As a result of cathepsin D activation, Mcl-1 interacted with its ubiquitin ligase Mule and expression declined. Inhibition of cathepsin D had no effect on early bacterial killing but inhibited the late phase of apoptosis-associated killing of pneumococci in vitro. Mice bearing a cathepsin D(-/-) hematopoietic system demonstrated reduced macrophage apoptosis in vivo, with decreased clearance of pneumococci and enhanced recruitment of neutrophils to control pulmonary infection. These findings establish an unexpected role for a cathepsin D-mediated lysosomal pathway of apoptosis in pulmonary host defense and underscore the importance of apoptosis-associated microbial killing to macrophage function.
TRAIL (tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand) is most often reported to induce apoptosis in tumour cells. It is expressed in artery walls but its role and regulation in vascular pathologies is little studied. We aimed to measure the effect of genetic deletion of TRAIL on atherosclerosis in a mouse model. TRAIL was mainly expressed in endothelium, smooth muscle cells and macrophages within plaques. The absence of TRAIL in chow and in fat-fed mice led to greater lesion coverage in aortae (8 weeks, % area ± SEM), n=7-8, 1.24 ± 0.2 (no TRAIL, chow diet) vs. 0.42 ± 0.1, p<0.01 and 3.4 ± 0.8 (no TRAIL, Western diet) vs. 0.94 ± 0.2, p<0.01 and larger, smooth muscle cell rich lesions at aortic roots than control mice (8 weeks, mean lesion area/total cross sectional area ± SEM, n=7-8, 0.17 ± 0.01 (no TRAIL, chow diet) vs. 0.135 ± 0.006, p<0.05 and 0.36 ± 0.03 (no TRAIL, Western diet) vs. 0.23 ± 0.02, p<0.05) particularly at early time points. The larger early lesions appeared to be as a result of increased smooth muscle cells in lesions of TRAIL deficient, pro-atherosclerotic animals. We conclude that TRAIL attenuates plaque size at early stages of atherosclerosis.
Our goal was to study the effects of ticagrelor on murine platelet function and thrombosis and characterize the time course of P2Y(12) inhibition required to inhibit neointima formation following vascular injury.
The processing and regulated secretion of IL-1beta are critical points of control of the biological activity of this important pro-inflammatory cytokine. IL-1beta is produced by both monocytes and macrophages, but the rate and mechanism of release differ according to the differentiation status and the origin of these cells. We aimed to study the control of processing and release in human blood monocytes and human monocyte-derived macrophages. Toll-like receptor (TLR)-induced IL-1beta production and release were investigated for dependence upon caspase-1, P2X7 receptor activation, and loss of membrane asymmetry associated with microvesicle shedding. TLR agonists induced P2X7 receptor-dependent IL-1beta release in both monocytes and macrophages; however, only monocytes also showed P2X7 receptor-independent release of mature IL-1beta. Furthermore, in monocytes ATP-mediated PS exposure could be activated independently of IL-1beta production. Release of IL-1beta from monocytes showed selectivity for specific TLR agonists and was accelerated by P2X7 receptor activation. Human monocytes released more IL-1beta/cell than macrophages. These data have important implications for inflammatory diseases that involve monocyte activation and IL-1 release.
There is increasing evidence that activation of inflammatory responses in a variety of tissues is mediated co-operatively by the actions of more than one cell type. In particular, the monocyte has been implicated as a potentially important cell in the initiation of inflammatory responses to Toll-like receptor (TLR)-activating signals. To determine the potential for monocyte-regulated activation of tissue cells to underpin inflammatory responses in the vasculature, we established cocultures of primary human endothelial cells and monocytes and dissected the inflammatory responses of these systems following activation with TLR agonists. We observed that effective activation of inflammatory responses required bidirectional signalling between the monocyte and the tissue cell. Activation of cocultures was dependent on interleukin-1 (IL-1). Although monocyte-mediated IL-1beta production was crucial to the activation of cocultures, TLR specificity to these responses was also provided by the endothelial cells, which served to regulate the signalling of the monocytes. TLR4-induced IL-1beta production by monocytes was increased by TLR4-dependent endothelial activation in coculture, and was associated with increased monocyte CD14 expression. Activation of this inflammatory network also supported the potential for downstream monocyte-dependent T helper type 17 activation. These data define co-operative networks regulating inflammatory responses to TLR agonists, identify points amenable to targeting for the amelioration of vascular inflammation, and offer the potential to modify atherosclerotic plaque instability after a severe infection.
Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory process that develops in individuals with known risk factors that include hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, influenced by diet. However, the interplay between diet, inflammatory mechanisms and vascular risk factors requires further research. We hypothesised that interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling in the vessel wall would raise arterial blood pressure and promote atheroma.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening disease characterized by the progressive narrowing and occlusion of small pulmonary arteries. Current therapies fail to fully reverse this vascular remodeling. Identifying key pathways in disease pathogenesis is therefore required for the development of new-targeted therapeutics. We have previously reported tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) immunoreactivity within pulmonary vascular lesions from patients with idiopathic PAH and animal models. Because TRAIL can induce both endothelial cell apoptosis and smooth muscle cell proliferation in the systemic circulation, we hypothesized that TRAIL is an important mediator in the pathogenesis of PAH. We demonstrate for the first time that TRAIL is a potent stimulus for pulmonary vascular remodeling in human cells and rodent models. Furthermore, antibody blockade or genetic deletion of TRAIL prevents the development of PAH in three independent rodent models. Finally, anti-TRAIL antibody treatment of rodents with established PAH reverses pulmonary vascular remodeling by reducing proliferation and inducing apoptosis, improves hemodynamic indices, and significantly increases survival. These preclinical investigations are the first to demonstrate the importance of TRAIL in PAH pathogenesis and highlight its potential as a novel therapeutic target to direct future translational therapies.
Cardiovascular disease has emerged as the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Acute coronary syndromes occur as a result of thrombotic complications at the site of atherosclerotic plaques, often following rupture of the fibrous cap of vulnerable plaques. A growing body of evidence from clinical and experimental studies suggests that acute respiratory tract infections can act as a trigger for acute coronary syndromes. The mechanism underlying this association has yet to be established. We explore the mechanistic links between acute respiratory tract infection and acute coronary syndromes, with a particular focus on the host response to infection and its potential interaction with pathogenic processes involved in atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic plaque rupture. The prothrombotic and haemodynamic effects of acute respiratory infection are also discussed. We review mechanistic studies as well as clinical trial data to investigate potential links between acute coronary syndromes and acute respiratory infection. Understanding the link between acute respiratory infections and acute coronary syndromes should help improve the outcome of acute coronary syndromes.
Most members of the serpin family of proteins are potent, irreversible inhibitors of specific serine or cysteine proteinases. Inhibitory serpins are distinguished from members of other families of proteinase inhibitors by their metastable structure and unique suicide-substrate mechanism. Animal serpins exert control over a remarkable diversity of physiological processes including blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, innate immunity and aspects of development. Relatively little is known about the complement of serpin genes in plant genomes and the biological functions of plant serpins.
We previously reported that osteoprotegerin (OPG) is regulated by pathways associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and is present at elevated levels within pulmonary vascular lesions and sera from patients with idiopathic PAH (IPAH). Since OPG is a naturally secreted protein, we investigated the relationship between serum OPG and disease severity and outcome in patients with IPAH and animal models. OPG mRNA expression was measured in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) from pulmonary arteries of patients with and without IPAH. Serum concentrations of OPG were measured in a retrospective and prospective group of patients. OPG levels were compared with phenotypic data and other putative PAH biomarkers. Prognostic significance was assessed and levels compared with healthy controls. Correlation of OPG and pulmonary vascular remodeling was also performed in rodent models of PAH. OPG mRNA was significantly increased 2-fold in PASMC isolated from explanted PAH lungs compared with control. Serum OPG concentrations were markedly elevated in IPAH compared with controls. In Cohort 1 OPG levels significantly correlated with mean right atrial pressure and cardiac index, while in Cohort 2 significant correlations existed between age-adjusted OPG levels and gas transfer. In both cohorts an OPG concentration above a ROC-derived threshold of 4728 pg/ml predicted poorer survival. In two rodent models, OPG correlated with the degree of pulmonary vascular remodeling. OPG levels are significantly elevated in patients with idiopathic PAH and are of prognostic significance. The role of OPG as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target merits further investigation.
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