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Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
Isolevuglandins are 4-ketoaldehydes formed by peroxidation of arachidonic acid. Isolevuglandins react rapidly with primary amines including the lysyl residues of proteins to form irreversible covalent modifications. This review highlights evidence for the potential role of isolevuglandin modification in the disease processes, especially atherosclerosis, and some of the tools including small molecule dicarbonyl scavengers utilized to assess their contributions to disease.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Background - Rictor is an essential component of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 2 (mTORC2), a conserved serine/threonine kinase that may play a role in cell proliferation, survival and innate or adaptive immune responses. Genetic loss of inactivates mTORC2, which directly activates Akt S phosphorylation and promotes pro-survival cell signaling and proliferation.
Methods and results - To study the role of mTORC2 signaling in monocytes and macrophages, we generated mice with myeloid lineage-specific deletion (M). These M mice exhibited dramatic reductions of white blood cells, B-cells, T-cells, and monocytes but had similar levels of neutrophils compared to control flox-flox () mice. M bone marrow monocytes and peritoneal macrophages expressed reduced levels of mTORC2 signaling and decreased Akt S phosphorylation, and they displayed significantly less proliferation than control cells. In addition, blood monocytes and peritoneal macrophages isolated from M mice were significantly more sensitive to pro-apoptotic stimuli. In response to LPS, M macrophages exhibited the M1 phenotype with higher levels of pro-inflammatory gene expression and lower levels of gene expression than control cells. Further suppression of LPS-stimulated Akt signaling with a low dose of an Akt inhibitor, increased inflammatory gene expression in macrophages, but genetic inactivation of reversed this rise, indicating that mTORC1 mediates this increase of inflammatory gene expression. Next, to elucidate whether mTORC2 has an impact on atherosclerosis , female and male null mice were reconstituted with bone marrow from M or mice. After 10 weeks of the Western diet, there were no differences between the recipients of the same gender in body weight, blood glucose or plasma lipid levels. However, both female and male M → mice developed smaller atherosclerotic lesions in the distal and proximal aorta. These lesions contained less macrophage area and more apoptosis than lesions of control → mice. Thus, loss of and, consequently, mTORC2 significantly compromised monocyte/macrophage survival, and this markedly diminished early atherosclerosis in mice.
Conclusion - Our results demonstrate that mTORC2 is a key signaling regulator of macrophage survival and its depletion suppresses early atherosclerosis.
OBJECTIVE - Hepatocyte deletion of estrogen receptor alpha (LKO-ERα) worsens fatty liver, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance in high-fat diet fed female mice. However, whether or not hepatocyte ERα regulates reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) in mice has not yet been reported.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Using LKO-ERα mice and wild-type (WT) littermates fed a Western-type diet, we found that deletion of hepatocyte ERα impaired in vivo RCT measured by the removal of H-cholesterol from macrophages to the liver, and subsequently to feces, in female mice but not in male mice. Deletion of hepatocyte ERα decreased the capacity of isolated HDL to efflux cholesterol from macrophages and reduced the ability of isolated hepatocytes to accept cholesterol from HDL ex vivo in both sexes. However, only in female mice, LKO-ERα increased serum cholesterol levels and increased HDL particle sizes. Deletion of hepatocyte ERα increased adiposity and worsened insulin resistance to a greater degree in female than male mice. All of the changes lead to a 5.6-fold increase in the size of early atherosclerotic lesions in female LKO-ERα mice compared to WT controls.
CONCLUSIONS - Estrogen signaling through hepatocyte ERα plays an important role in RCT and is protective against lipid retention in the artery wall during early stages of atherosclerosis in female mice fed a Western-type diet.
Published by Elsevier GmbH.
Age-related vascular stiffening is closely associated with cardiovascular risk. The clinical measure of arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity, reflects bulk structural changes in the media observed with age, but does not reflect intimal remodeling that also drives atherosclerosis. Endothelial barrier integrity is disrupted during early atherogenesis and is regulated by the mechanics and composition of the underlying intima, which undergoes significant atherogenic remodeling in response to age and hemodynamics. Here, we first review the best characterized of these changes, including physiological intimal thickening throughout the arterial tree, fibronectin and collagen deposition, and collagen cross-linking. We then address the most common in vivo and in vitro models used to gain mechanistic insight into the consequences of intimal remodeling. Finally, we consider the impacts of intimal stiffening upon endothelial cell mechanotransduction with emphasis on the emerging impact of increased complexity in cellular traction forces and substrate rigidity upon endothelial barrier integrity.
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Natriuretic peptides (NP) are cardiac-derived hormones with favorable cardiometabolic actions. Low NP levels are associated with increased risks of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, conditions with variable prevalence by race and ethnicity. Heritable factors underlie a significant proportion of the interindividual variation in NP concentrations, but the specific influences of race and ancestry are unknown. In 5597 individuals (40% white, 24% black, 23% Hispanic, and 13% Chinese) without prevalent cardiovascular disease at baseline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, multivariable linear regression and restricted cubic splines were used to estimate differences in serum N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels according to, ethnicity, and ancestry. Ancestry was determined using genetic ancestry informative markers. NT-proBNP concentrations differed significantly by race and ethnicity (black, median 43 pg/ml [interquartile range 17 to 94], Chinese 43 [17 to 90], Hispanic 53 [23 to 107], white 68 [34 to 136]; p = 0.0001). In multivariable models, NT-proBNP was 44% lower (95% confidence interval -48 to -40) in black and 46% lower (-50 to -41) in Chinese, compared with white individuals. Hispanic individuals had intermediate concentrations. Self-identified blacks and Hispanics were the most genetically admixed. Among self-identified black individuals, a 20% increase in genetic European ancestry was associated with 12% higher (1% to 23%) NT-proBNP. Among Hispanic individuals, genetic European and African ancestry were positively and negatively associated with NT-proBNP levels, respectively. In conclusion, NT-proBNP levels differ according to race and ethnicity, with the lowest concentrations in black and Chinese individuals. Racial and ethnic differences in NT-proBNP may have a genetic basis, with European and African ancestry associated with higher and lower NT-proBNP concentrations, respectively.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Importance - Modern prevention guidelines substantially increase the number of individuals who are eligible for treatment with statins. Efforts to refine statin eligibility via coronary calcification have been studied in white populations but not, to our knowledge, in large African American populations.
Objective - To compare the relative accuracy of US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) recommendations in identifying African American individuals with subclinical and clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).
Design, Setting, and Participants - In this prospective, community-based study, 2812 African American individuals aged 40 to 75 years without prevalent ASCVD underwent assessment of ASCVD risk. Of these, 1743 participants completed computed tomography.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Nonzero coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, abdominal aortic calcium score, and incident ASCVD (ie, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or fatal coronary heart disease).
Results - Of the 2812 included participants, the mean (SD) age at baseline was 55.4 (9.4) years, and 1837 (65.3%) were female. The USPSTF guidelines captured 404 of 732 African American individuals (55.2%) with a CAC score greater than 0; the ACC/AHA guidelines identified 507 individuals (69.3%) (risk difference, 14.1%; 95% CI, 11.2-17.0; P < .001). Statin recommendation under both guidelines was associated with a CAC score greater than 0 (odds ratio, 5.1; 95% CI, 4.1-6.3; P < .001). While individuals indicated for statins under both guidelines experienced 9.6 cardiovascular events per 1000 patient-years, those indicated under only ACC/AHA guidelines were at low to intermediate risk (4.1 events per 1000 patient-years). Among individuals who were statin eligible by ACC/AHA guidelines, the 10-year ASCVD incidence per 1000 person-years was 8.1 (95% CI, 5.9-11.1) in the presence of CAC and 3.1 (95% CI, 1.6-5.9) without CAC (P = .02). While statin-eligible individuals by USPSTF guidelines did not have a significantly higher 10-year ASCVD event rate in the presence of CAC, African American individuals not eligible for statins by USPSTF guidelines had a higher ASCVD event rate in the presence of CAC (2.8 per 1000 person-years; 95% CI, 1.5-5.4) relative to without CAC (0.8 per 1000 person-years; 95%, CI 0.3-1.7) (P = .03).
Conclusions and Relevance - The USPSTF guidelines focus treatment recommendations on 38% of high-risk African American individuals at the expense of not recommending treatment in nearly 25% of African American individuals eligible for statins by ACC/AHA guidelines with vascular calcification and at low to intermediate ASCVD risk.
The HDL receptor scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) plays crucial roles in cholesterol homeostasis, lipoprotein metabolism, and atherosclerosis. Hepatic SR-BI mediates reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) by the uptake of HDL cholesterol for routing to the bile. Through the selective uptake of HDL lipids, hepatic SR-BI modulates HDL composition and preserves HDL's atheroprotective functions of mediating cholesterol efflux and minimizing inflammation and oxidation. Macrophage and endothelial cell SR-BI inhibits the development of atherosclerosis by mediating cholesterol trafficking to minimize atherosclerotic lesion foam cell formation. SR-BI signaling also helps limit inflammation and cell death and mediates efferocytosis of apoptotic cells in atherosclerotic lesions thereby preventing vulnerable plaque formation. SR-BI is emerging as a multifunctional therapeutic target to reduce atherosclerosis development.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are two major contributing factors to atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Oxidation of phospholipids on the surface of low density lipoprotein (LDL) particles generated under oxidative stress has been associated with the progression of atherosclerosis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined. We identified a novel series of oxidation products containing the cyclopentenone moiety, termed deoxy-A/J-isoprostanes-phosphocholine, from 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl--glycero-3-phosphocholine using mass spectrometry and by comparison to a chemically synthesized standard. Transcriptomic analysis (RNA-seq) demonstrated that these compounds affected >200 genes in bone marrow-derived macrophages, and genes associated with inflammatory and anti-oxidative responses are among the top 5 differentially expressed. To further investigate the biological relevance of these novel oxidized phospholipids in atherosclerosis, we chemically synthesized a representative compound 1-palmitoyl-2-15-deoxy-δ-12,14-prostaglandin J--glycero-3-phosphocholine (15d-PGJ-PC) and found that it induced anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant responses in macrophages through modulation of NF-κB, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), and Nrf2 pathways; this compound also showed potent anti-inflammatory properties in a mice model of LPS-induced systematic inflammatory response syndrome. Additionally, 15d-PGJ-PC inhibited macrophage foam cell formation, suggesting a beneficial role against atherosclerosis. These properties were consistent with decreased levels of these compounds in the plasma of patients with coronary heart disease compared with control subjects. Our findings uncovered a novel molecular mechanism for the negative regulation of inflammation and positive enhancement of anti-oxidative responses in macrophages by these oxidized phospholipids in LDL in the context of atherosclerosis.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Importance - Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, prognostic data on CAC are limited in younger adults.
Objective - To determine if CAC in adults aged 32 to 46 years is associated with incident clinical CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality during 12.5 years of follow-up.
Design, Setting, and Participants - The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study is a prospective community-based study that recruited 5115 black and white participants aged 18 to 30 years from March 25, 1985, to June 7, 1986. The cohort has been under surveillance for 30 years, with CAC measured 15 (n = 3043), 20 (n = 3141), and 25 (n = 3189) years after recruitment. The mean follow-up period for incident events was 12.5 years, from the year 15 computed tomographic scan through August 31, 2014.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Incident CHD included fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome without myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, or CHD death. Incident CVD included CHD, stroke, heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease. Death included all causes. The probability of developing CAC by age 32 to 56 years was estimated using clinical risk factors measured 7 years apart between ages 18 and 38 years.
Results - At year 15 of the study among 3043 participants (mean [SD] age, 40.3 [3.6] years; 1383 men and 1660 women), 309 individuals (10.2%) had CAC, with a geometric mean Agatston score of 21.6 (interquartile range, 17.3-26.8). Participants were followed up for 12.5 years, with 57 incident CHD events and 108 incident CVD events observed. After adjusting for demographics, risk factors, and treatments, those with any CAC experienced a 5-fold increase in CHD events (hazard ratio [HR], 5.0; 95% CI, 2.8-8.7) and 3-fold increase in CVD events (HR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.9-4.7). Within CAC score strata of 1-19, 20-99, and 100 or more, the HRs for CHD were 2.6 (95% CI, 1.0-5.7), 5.8 (95% CI, 2.6-12.1), and 9.8 (95% CI, 4.5-20.5), respectively. A CAC score of 100 or more had an incidence of 22.4 deaths per 100 participants (HR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.5-10.0); of the 13 deaths in participants with a CAC score of 100 or more, 10 were adjudicated as CHD events. Risk factors for CVD in early adult life identified those above the median risk for developing CAC and, if applied, in a selective CAC screening strategy could reduce the number of people screened for CAC by 50% and the number imaged needed to find 1 person with CAC from 3.5 to 2.2.
Conclusions and Relevance - The presence of CAC among individuals aged between 32 and 46 years was associated with increased risk of fatal and nonfatal CHD during 12.5 years of follow-up. A CAC score of 100 or more was associated with early death. Adults younger than 50 years with any CAC, even with very low scores, identified on a computed tomographic scan are at elevated risk of clinical CHD, CVD, and death. Selective use of screening for CAC might be considered in individuals with risk factors in early adulthood to inform discussions about primary prevention.