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Juxtaglomerular (JG) cells, major sources of renin, differentiate from metanephric mesenchymal cells that give rise to JG cells or a subset of smooth muscle cells of the renal afferent arteriole. During periods of dehydration and salt deprivation, renal mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) differentiate from JG cells. JG cells undergo expansion and smooth muscle cells redifferentiate to express renin along the afferent arteriole. Gene expression profiling comparing resident renal MSCs with JG cells indicates that the transcription factor Sox6 is highly expressed in JG cells in the adult kidney. In vitro, loss of Sox6 expression reduces differentiation of renal MSCs to renin-producing cells. In vivo, Sox6 expression is upregulated after a low-Na diet and furosemide. Importantly, knockout of Sox6 in Ren1d+ cells halts the increase in renin-expressing cells normally seen during a low-Na diet and furosemide as well as the typical increase in renin. Furthermore, Sox6 ablation in renin-expressing cells halts the recruitment of smooth muscle cells along the afferent arteriole, which normally express renin under these conditions. These results support a previously undefined role for Sox6 in renin expression.
Novel therapeutic regulators of uterine contractility are needed to manage preterm labor, induce labor and control postpartum hemorrhage. Therefore, we previously developed a high-throughput assay for large-scale screening of small molecular compounds to regulate calcium-mobilization in primary mouse uterine myometrial cells. The goal of this study was to select the optimal myometrial cells for our high-throughput drug discovery assay, as well as determine the similarity or differences of myometrial cells to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs)-the most common off-target of current myometrial therapeutics. Molecular and pharmacological assays were used to compare myometrial cells from four sources: primary cells isolated from term pregnant human and murine myometrium, immortalized pregnant human myometrial (PHM-1) cells and immortalized non-pregnant human myometrial (hTERT-HM) cells. In addition, myometrial cells were compared to vascular SMCs. We found that the transcriptome profiles of hTERT-HM and PHM1 cells were most similar (r = 0.93 and 0.90, respectively) to human primary myometrial cells. Comparative transcriptome profiling of primary human myometrial transcriptome and VSMCs revealed 498 upregulated (p ≤ 0.01, log2FC≥1) genes, of which 142 can serve as uterine-selective druggable targets. In the high-throughput Ca-assay, PHM1 cells had the most similar response to primary human myometrial cells in OT-induced Ca-release (E = 195% and 143%, EC = 30 nM and 120 nM, respectively), while all sources of myometrial cells showed excellent and similar robustness and reproducibility (Z' = 0.52 to 0.77). After testing a panel of 61 compounds, we found that the stimulatory and inhibitory responses of hTERT-HM cells were highly-correlated (r = 0.94 and 0.95, respectively) to human primary cells. Moreover, ten compounds were identified that displayed uterine-selectivity (≥5-fold E or EC compared to VSMCs). Collectively, this study found that hTERT-HM cells exhibited the most similarity to primary human myometrial cells and, therefore, is an optimal substitute for large-scale screening to identify novel therapeutic regulators of myometrial contractility. Moreover, VSMCs can serve as an important counter-screening tool to assess uterine-selectivity of targets and drugs given the similarity observed in the transcriptome and response to compounds.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) is a proinflammatory cytokine that is closely linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. TNFα activates NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), including superoxide (O), production extracellularly is required for subsequent signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase that is activated by oxidation of associated thioredoxin. The role of ASK1 in Nox1-mediated signaling by TNFα is poorly defined. We hypothesized that ASK1 is required for TNFα receptor endocytosis and subsequent inflammatory TNFα signaling. We employed a knockdown strategy to explore the role of ASK1 in TNFα signaling in VSMCs. siRNA targeting ASK1 had no effect on TNFα-induced extracellular O production. However, siASK1 inhibited receptor endocytosis as well as phosphorylation of two endocytosis-related proteins, dynamin1 and caveolin1. Intracellular O production was subsequently reduced, as were other inflammatory signaling steps including NF-κB activation, IL-6 production, inducible nitric oxide synthase and VCAM expression, and VSMC proliferation. Prolonged exposure to TNFα (24 h) increased tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) subtype 1 and 2 expression, and these effects were also attenuated by siASK1. ASK1 coimmunoprecipitated with both Nox1 and the leucine rich repeat containing 8A anion channel, two essential components of the TNFR1 signaling complex. Activation of ASK1 by autophosphorylation at Thr845 occurs following thioredoxin dissociation, and this requires the presence of Nox1. Thus, Nox1 is part of the multiprotein ASK1 signaling complex. In response to TNFα, ASK1 is activated by Nox1-derived oxidants, and this plays a critical role in translating these ROS into a physiologic response in VSMCs. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) drives dynamin1 and caveolin1 phosphorylation and TNFα receptor endocytosis. ASK1 modulates TNFα-induced NF-κB activation, survival, and proliferation. ASK1 and NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1) physically associate in a multiprotein signaling complex. Nox1 is required for TNFα-induced ASK1 activation.
The leading cause of synthetic graft failure includes thrombotic occlusion and intimal hyperplasia at the site of vascular anastomosis. Herein, we report a co-immobilization strategy of heparin and potent anti-neointimal drug (Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase II inhibitory peptide; MK2i) by using a tyrosinase-catalyzed oxidative reaction for preventing thrombotic occlusion and neointimal formation of synthetic vascular grafts. The binding of heparin-tyramine polymer (HT) onto the polycarprolactone (PCL) surface enhanced blood compatibility with significantly reduced protein absorption (64.7% decrease) and platelet adhesion (85.6% decrease) compared to bare PCL surface. When loading MK2i, 1) the HT depot surface gained high MK2i-loading efficiency through charge-charge interaction, and 2) this depot platform enabled long-term, controlled release over 4weeks (92-272μg/mL of MK2i). The released MK2i showed significant inhibitory effects on VSMC migration through down-regulated phosphorylation of target proteins (HSP27 and CREB) associated with intimal hyperplasia. In addition, it was found that the released MK2i infiltrated into the tissue with a cumulative manner in ex vivo human saphenous vein (HSV) model. This present study demonstrates that enzymatically HT-coated surface modification is an effective strategy to induce long-term MK2i release as well as hemocompatibility, thereby improving anti-neointimal activity of synthetic vascular grafts.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) represent important modulators of plaque stability in advanced lesions. We previously reported that loss of small proline-rich repeat protein 3 (Sprr3), leads to VSMC apoptosis in a PI3K/Akt-dependent manner and accelerates lesion progression. Here, we investigated the role of Sprr3 in modulating plaque stability in hyperlipidemic ApoE-/- mice. We show that loss of Sprr3 increased necrotic core size and reduced cap collagen content of atheromas in brachiocephalic arteries with evidence of plaque rupture and development of intraluminal thrombi. Moreover, Sprr3-/-ApoE-/- mice developed advanced coronary artery lesions accompanied by intraplaque hemorrhage and left ventricle microinfarcts. SPRR3 is known to reduce VSMC survival in lesions by promoting their apoptosis. In addition, we demonstrated that Sprr3-/- VSMCs displayed reduced expression of procollagen in a PI3K/Akt dependent manner. SPRR3 loss also increased MMP gelatinase activity in lesions, and increased MMP2 expression, migration and contraction of VSMCs independently of PI3K/Akt. Consequently, Sprr3 represents the first described VSMC modulator of each of the critical features of cap stability, including VSMC numbers, collagen type I synthesis, and protease activity through Akt dependent and independent pathways.
OBJECTIVE - Endoglin, a transforming growth factor-β superfamily coreceptor, is predominantly expressed in endothelial cells and has essential roles in vascular development. However, whether endoglin is also expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), especially in vivo, remains controversial. Furthermore, the roles of endoglin in VSMC biology remain largely unknown. Our objective was to examine the expression and determine the function of endoglin in VSMCs during angiogenesis.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Here, we determine that endoglin is robustly expressed in VSMCs. Using CRISPR/CAS9 knockout and short hairpin RNA knockdown in the VSMC/endothelial coculture model system, we determine that endoglin in VSMCs, but not in endothelial cells, promotes VSMCs recruitment by the endothelial cells both in vitro and in vivo. Using an unbiased bioinformatics analysis of RNA sequencing data and further study, we determine that, mechanistically, endoglin mediates VSMC recruitment by promoting VSMC migration and spreading on endothelial cells via increasing integrin/FAK pathway signaling, whereas endoglin has minimal effects on VSMC adhesion to endothelial cells. In addition, we further determine that loss of endoglin in VSMCs inhibits VSMC recruitment in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies demonstrate that endoglin has an important role in VSMC recruitment and blood vessel maturation during angiogenesis and also provide novel insights into how discordant endoglin function in endothelial and VSMCs may regulate vascular maturation and angiogenesis.
© 2017 The Authors.
Leucine Rich Repeat Containing 8A (LRRC8A) is a required component of volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs). In vascular smooth muscle cells, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) activates VRAC via type 1 TNFα receptors (TNFR1), and this requires superoxide (O) production by NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1). VRAC inhibitors suppress the inflammatory response to TNFα by an unknown mechanism. We hypothesized that LRRC8A directly supports Nox1 activity, providing a link between VRAC current and inflammatory signaling. VRAC inhibition by 4-(2-butyl-6,7-dichlor-2-cyclopentylindan-1-on-5-yl) oxobutyric acid (DCPIB) impaired NF-κB activation by TNFα. LRRC8A siRNA reduced the magnitude of VRAC and inhibited TNFα-induced NF-κB activation, iNOS and VCAM expression, and proliferation of VSMCs. Signaling steps disrupted by both siLRRC8A and DCPIB included; extracellular O production by Nox1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation and endocytosis of TNFR1. Extracellular superoxide dismutase, but not catalase, selectively inhibited TNFR1 endocytosis and JNK phosphorylation. Thus, O is the critical extracellular oxidant for TNFR signal transduction. Reducing JNK expression (siJNK) increased extracellular O suggesting that JNK provides important negative feedback regulation to Nox1 at the plasma membrane. LRRC8A co-localized by immunostaining, and co-immunoprecipitated with, both Nox1 and its p22phox subunit. LRRC8A is a component of the Nox1 signaling complex. It is required for extracellular O production, which is in turn essential for TNFR1 endocytosis. These data are the first to provide a molecular mechanism for the potent anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of VRAC inhibition.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Intimal hyperplasia remains the primary cause of vein graft failure for the 1 million yearly bypass procedures performed using human saphenous vein (HSV) grafts. This response to injury is caused in part by the harvest and preparation of the conduit. The use of Brilliant Blue FCF (FCF) restores injury-induced loss of function in vascular tissues possibly via inhibition of purinergic receptor signaling. This study investigated whether pretreatment of the vein graft with FCF prevents intimal hyperplasia.
METHODS - Cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells (A7r5) were used to determine the effect of FCF on platelet-derived growth factor-mediated migration and proliferation, cellular processes that contribute to intimal hyperplasia. The effectiveness of FCF treatment during the time of explantation on preventing intimal hyperplasia was evaluated in a rabbit jugular-carotid interposition model and in an organ culture model using HSV.
RESULTS - FCF inhibited platelet-derived growth factor-induced migration and proliferation of A7r5 cells. Treatment with FCF at the time of vein graft explantation inhibited the subsequent development of intimal thickening in the rabbit model. Pretreatment with FCF also prevented intimal thickening of HSV in organ culture.
CONCLUSIONS - Incorporation of FCF as a component of vein graft preparation at the time of explantation represents a potential therapeutic approach to mitigate intimal hyperplasia, reduce vein graft failure, and improve outcome of the autologous transplantation of HSV.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Dysregulation of vascular stiffness and cellular metabolism occurs early in pulmonary hypertension (PH). However, the mechanisms by which biophysical properties of the vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) relate to metabolic processes important in PH remain undefined. In this work, we examined cultured pulmonary vascular cells and various types of PH-diseased lung tissue and determined that ECM stiffening resulted in mechanoactivation of the transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ (WWTR1). YAP/TAZ activation modulated metabolic enzymes, including glutaminase (GLS1), to coordinate glutaminolysis and glycolysis. Glutaminolysis, an anaplerotic pathway, replenished aspartate for anabolic biosynthesis, which was critical for sustaining proliferation and migration within stiff ECM. In vitro, GLS1 inhibition blocked aspartate production and reprogrammed cellular proliferation pathways, while application of aspartate restored proliferation. In the monocrotaline rat model of PH, pharmacologic modulation of pulmonary vascular stiffness and YAP-dependent mechanotransduction altered glutaminolysis, pulmonary vascular proliferation, and manifestations of PH. Additionally, pharmacologic targeting of GLS1 in this model ameliorated disease progression. Notably, evaluation of simian immunodeficiency virus-infected nonhuman primates and HIV-infected subjects revealed a correlation between YAP/TAZ-GLS activation and PH. These results indicate that ECM stiffening sustains vascular cell growth and migration through YAP/TAZ-dependent glutaminolysis and anaplerosis, and thereby link mechanical stimuli to dysregulated vascular metabolism. Furthermore, this study identifies potential metabolic drug targets for therapeutic development in PH.
Severe bronchospasm refractory to β-agonists is a challenging aspect of asthma therapy, and novel therapeutics are needed. β-agonist-induced airway smooth muscle (ASM) relaxation is associated with increases in the phosphorylation of the small heat shock-related protein (HSP) 20. We hypothesized that a transducible phosphopeptide mimetic of HSP20 (P20 peptide) causes relaxation of human ASM (HASM) by interacting with target(s) downstream of the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) pathway. The effect of the P20 peptide on ASM contractility was determined in human and porcine ASM using a muscle bath. The effect of the P20 peptide on filamentous actin dynamics and migration was examined in intact porcine ASM and cultured primary HASM cells. The efficacy of the P20 peptide in vivo on airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was determined in an ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization and challenge murine model of allergic airway inflammation. P20 peptide caused dose-dependent relaxation of carbachol-precontracted ASM and blocked carbachol-induced contraction. The β2AR inhibitor, (±)-1-[2,3-(dihydro-7-methyl-1H-inden-4-yl)oxy]-3-[(1-methylethyl)amino]-2-butanol hydrochloride (ICI 118,551), abrogated isoproterenol but not P20 peptide-mediated relaxation. The P20 peptide decreased filamentous actin levels in intact ASM, disrupted stress fibers, and inhibited platelet-derived growth factor-induced migration of HASM cells. The P20 peptide treatment reduced methacholine-induced AHR in OVA mice without affecting the inflammatory response. These results suggest that the P20 peptide decreased airway constriction and disrupted stress fibers through regulation of the actin cytoskeleton downstream of β2AR. Thus, the P20 peptide may be a potential therapeutic for asthma refractory to β-agonists.