Impaired PPARγ activity in endothelial cells causes oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction which causes a predisposition to hypertension, but the identity of key PPARγ target genes that protect the endothelium remain unclear. Retinol-binding protein 7 (RBP7) is a PPARγ target gene that is essentially endothelium specific. Whereas RBP7-deficient mice exhibit normal endothelial function at baseline, they exhibit severe endothelial dysfunction in response to cardiovascular stressors, including high-fat diet and subpressor angiotensin II. Endothelial dysfunction was not due to differences in weight gain, impaired glucose homeostasis, or hepatosteatosis, but occurred through an oxidative stress–dependent mechanism which can be rescued by scavengers of superoxide. RNA sequencing revealed that RBP7 was required to mediate induction of a subset of PPARγ target genes by rosiglitazone in the endothelium including adiponectin. Adiponectin was selectively induced in the endothelium of control mice by high-fat diet and rosiglitazone, whereas RBP7 deficiency abolished this induction. Adiponectin inhibition caused endothelial dysfunction in control vessels, whereas adiponectin treatment of RBP7-deficient vessels improved endothelium-dependent relaxation and reduced oxidative stress. We conclude that RBP7 is required to mediate the protective effects of PPARγ in the endothelium through adiponectin, and RBP7 is an endothelium-specific PPARγ target and regulator of PPARγ activity.


Chunyan Hu, Henry L. Keen, Ko-Ting Lu, Xuebo Liu, Jing Wu, Deborah R. Davis, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Silke Vogel, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund


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