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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.
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.
Serotonergic anorexigens are the primary pharmacologic risk factor associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and the resulting PAH is clinically indistinguishable from the heritable form of disease, associated with BMPR2 mutations. Both BMPR2 mutation and agonists to the serotonin receptor HTR2B have been shown to cause activation of SRC tyrosine kinase; conversely, antagonists to HTR2B inhibit SRC trafficking and downstream function. To test the hypothesis that a HTR2B antagonist can prevent BMRP2 mutation induced PAH by restricting aberrant SRC trafficking and downstream activity, we exposed BMPR2 mutant mice, which spontaneously develop PAH, to a HTR2B antagonist, SB204741, to block the SRC activation caused by BMPR2 mutation. SB204741 prevented the development of PAH in BMPR2 mutant mice, reduced recruitment of inflammatory cells to their lungs, and reduced muscularization of their blood vessels. By atomic force microscopy, we determined that BMPR2 mutant mice normally had a doubling of vessel stiffness, which was substantially normalized by HTR2B inhibition. SB204741 reduced SRC phosphorylation and downstream activity in BMPR2 mutant mice. Gene expression arrays indicate that the primary changes were in cytoskeletal and muscle contractility genes. These results were confirmed by gel contraction assays showing that HTR2B inhibition nearly normalizes the 400% increase in gel contraction normally seen in BMPR2 mutant smooth muscle cells. Heritable PAH results from increased SRC activation, cellular contraction, and vascular resistance, but antagonism of HTR2B prevents SRC phosphorylation, downstream activity, and PAH in BMPR2 mutant mice.
RATIONALE - Myocardial infarction causes irreversible tissue damage, leading to heart failure. We recently discovered that canonical Wnt signaling and the Wnt10b ligand are strongly induced in mouse hearts after infarction. Wnt10b regulates cell fate in various organs, but its role in the heart is unknown.
OBJECTIVE - To investigate the effect of Wnt10b gain-of-function on cardiac repair mechanisms and to assess its potential to improve ventricular function after injury.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Histological and molecular analyses showed that Wnt10b is expressed in cardiomyocytes and localized in the intercalated discs of mouse and human hearts. After coronary artery ligation or cryoinjury in mice, Wnt10b is strongly and transiently induced in peri-infarct cardiomyocytes during granulation tissue formation. To determine the effect of Wnt10b on neovascularization and fibrosis, we generated a mouse line to increase endogenous Wnt10b levels in cardiomyocytes. We found that gain of Wnt10b function orchestrated a recovery phenotype characterized by robust neovascularization of the injury zone, less myofibroblasts, reduced scar size, and improved ventricular function compared with wild-type mice. Wnt10b stimulated expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 in endothelial cells and angiopoietin-1 in vascular smooth muscle cells through nuclear factor-κB activation. These effects coordinated endothelial growth and smooth muscle cell recruitment, promoting robust formation of large, coronary-like blood vessels.
CONCLUSION - Wnt10b gain-of-function coordinates arterial formation and attenuates fibrosis in cardiac tissue after injury. Because generation of mature blood vessels is necessary for efficient perfusion, our findings could lead to novel strategies to optimize the inherent repair capacity of the heart and prevent the onset of heart failure.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
Autologous vein grafts are commonly used for coronary and peripheral artery bypass but have a high incidence of intimal hyperplasia (IH) and failure. We present a nanopolyplex (NP) approach that efficiently delivers a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2 inhibitory peptide (MK2i) to graft tissue to improve long-term patency by inhibiting pathways that initiate IH. In vitro testing in human vascular smooth muscle cells revealed that formulation into MK2i-NPs increased cell internalization, endosomal escape, and intracellular half-life of MK2i. This efficient delivery mechanism enabled MK2i-NPs to sustain potent inhibition of inflammatory cytokine production and migration in vascular cells. In intact human saphenous vein, MK2i-NPs blocked inflammatory and migratory signaling, as confirmed by reduced phosphorylation of the posttranscriptional gene regulator heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A0, the transcription factor cAMP (adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate) element-binding protein, and the chaperone heat shock protein 27. The molecular effects of MK2i-NPs caused functional inhibition of IH in human saphenous vein cultured ex vivo. In a rabbit vein transplant model, a 30-min intraoperative graft treatment with MK2i-NPs significantly reduced in vivo IH 28 days posttransplant compared with untreated or free MK2i-treated grafts. The decrease in IH in MK2i-NP-treated grafts in the rabbit model also corresponded with decreased cellular proliferation and maintenance of the vascular wall smooth muscle cells in a more contractile phenotype. These data indicate that nanoformulated MK2 inhibitors are a promising strategy for preventing graft failure.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), a proinflammatory cytokine, causes vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation and migration and promotes inflammatory vascular lesions. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation by TNFα requires endosomal superoxide production by Nox1. In endothelial cells, TNFα stimulates c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), which inhibits NF-κB signaling. The mechanism by which JNK negatively regulates TNFα-induced NF-κB activation has not been defined. We hypothesized that JNK modulates NF-κB activation in VSMC, and does so via a Nox1-dependent mechanism. TNFα-induced NF-κB activation was TNFR1- and endocytosis-dependent. Inhibition of endocytosis with dominant-negative dynamin (DynK44A) potentiated TNFα-induced JNK activation, but decreased ERK activation, while p38 kinase phosphorylation was not altered. DynK44A attenuated intracellular, endosomal superoxide production in wild-type (WT) VSMC, but not in NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1) knockout (KO) cells. siRNA targeting JNK1 or JNK2 potentiated, while a JNK activator (anisomycin) inhibited, TNFα-induced NF-κB activation in WT, but not in Nox1 KO cells. TNFα-stimulated superoxide generation was enhanced by JNK1 inhibition in WT, but not in Nox1 KO VSMC. These data suggest that JNK suppresses the inflammatory response to TNFα by reducing Nox1-dependent endosomal ROS production. JNK and endosomal superoxide may represent novel targets for pharmacologic modulation of TNFα signaling and vascular inflammation.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Regional differences in vascular physiology and disease response exist throughout the vascular tree. While these differences in physiology and disease correspond to regional vascular environmental conditions, there is also compelling evidence that the embryonic origins of the smooth muscle inherent to the vessels may play a role. Here, we review what is known regarding the role of embryonic origin of vascular smooth muscle cells during vascular development. The focus of this review is to highlight the heterogeneity in the origins of vascular smooth muscle cells and the resulting regional physiologies of the vessels. Our goal is to stimulate future investigation into this area and provide a better understanding of vascular organogenesis and disease. .
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.