Vascular inflammation is present in many cardiovascular diseases, and exogenous glucocorticoids have traditionally been used as a therapy to suppress inflammation. However, recent data have shown that endogenous glucocorticoids, acting through the endothelial glucocorticoid receptor, act as negative regulators of inflammation. Here, we performed ChIP for the glucocorticoid receptor, followed by next-generation sequencing in mouse endothelial cells to investigate how the endothelial glucocorticoid receptor regulates vascular inflammation. We identified a role of the Wnt signaling pathway in this setting and show that loss of the endothelial glucocorticoid receptor results in upregulation of Wnt signaling both in vitro and in vivo using our validated mouse model. Furthermore, we demonstrate glucocorticoid receptor regulation of a key gene in the Wnt pathway, Frzb, via a glucocorticoid response element gleaned from our genomic data. These results suggest a role for endothelial Wnt signaling modulation in states of vascular inflammation.
Han Zhou, Sameet Mehta, Swayam Prakash Srivastava, Kariona Grabinska, Xinbo Zhang, Chris Wong, Ahmad Hedayat, Paola Perrotta, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, William C. Sessa, Julie E. Goodwin
CADASIL leads to premature stroke and vascular dementia. Mechanism-specific therapies for this aggressive cerebral small vessel disease are lacking. CADASIL is caused by NOTCH3 mutations that influence vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) function through unknown processes. We investigated molecular mechanisms underlying the vasculopathy in CADASIL focusing on ER stress and RhoA/Rho kinase (ROCK). Peripheral small arteries and VSMCs were isolated from gluteal biopsies of CADASIL patients and mesentery of TgNotch3R169C mice (CADASIL model). CADASIL vessels exhibited impaired vasorelaxation, blunted vasoconstriction and hypertrophic remodelling. Expression of NOTCH3 and ER stress target genes was amplified and ER stress response, Rho kinase activity, superoxide production and cytoskeletal-associated protein phosphorylation were increased in CADASIL, processes associated with Nox5 upregulation. Aberrant vascular responses and signalling in CADASIL were ameliorated by inhibitors of Notch3 (gamma-secretase inhibitor), Nox5 (mellitin), ER stress (4-PBA) and ROCK (fasudil). Observations in human CADASIL were recapitulated in TgNotch3R169C mice. These findings indicate that vascular dysfunction in CADASIL involves ER stress/ROCK interplay driven by Notch3-induced Nox5 activation and that NOTCH3 mutation-associated vascular pathology, typical in cerebral vessels, also manifests peripherally. We define Notch3-Nox5/ERstress/ROCK signaling as a novel putative mechanism-specific target and suggest that peripheral artery responses may be an accessible biomarker in CADASIL.
Karla B. Neves, Adam P. Harvey, Fiona Moreton, Augusto C. Montezano, Francisco J. Rios, Rhéure Alves-Lopes, Aurelie Nguyen Dinh Cat, Paul Rocchiccioli, Christian Delles, Anne Joutel, Keith Muir, Rhian M. Touyz
Lymphatic malformations (LMs) are congenital, non-neoplastic vascular malformations associated with post-zygotic activating PIK3CA mutations. The mutation spectrum within LMs is narrow, with the majority having one of three “hotspot” mutations. Despite this relative genetic homogeneity, clinical presentations differ dramatically. We used molecular inversion probes and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction to perform deep, targeted sequencing of PIK3CA in 271 affected and unaffected tissue samples from 81 individuals with isolated LMs and retrospectively collected clinical data. Pathogenic PIK3CA mutations were identified in affected LM tissue in 64 individuals (79%) with isolated LMs, with variant allele fractions (VAFs) ranging from 0.1 to 13%. Initial analyses revealed no correlation between VAF and phenotype variables. Recognizing that different mutations activate PI3K to varying degrees, we developed a metric, the genotype-adjusted VAF (GVAF), to account for differences in mutation strength, and found significantly higher GVAFs in LMs with more severe clinical characteristics including orofacial location or microcystic structure. In addition to providing insight into LM pathogenesis, we believe GVAF may have broad applicability for genotype-phenotype analyses in mosaic disorders.
Kaitlyn Zenner, Chi Vicky Cheng, Dana M. Jensen, Andrew E. Timms, Giridhar Shivaram, Randall Bly, Sheila Ganti, Kathryn B. Whitlock, William B. Dobyns, Jonathan Perkins, James T. Bennett
Nitric oxide (NO) regulates blood pressure (BP) by binding the reduced heme iron (Fe2+) in soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and relaxing vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC). We previously showed that sGC heme iron reduction (Fe3+ → Fe2+) is modulated by cytochrome b5 reductase 3 (CYB5R3). However, the in vivo role of SMC CYB5R3 in BP regulation remains elusive. Here, we generated conditional smooth muscle cell-specific Cyb5r3 knockout mice (SMC CYB5R3 KO) to test if SMC CYB5R3 loss impacts systemic BP in normotension and hypertension via regulation of sGC redox state. SMC CYB5R3 KO mice exhibited a 5.84 mmHg increase in BP and impaired acetylcholine-induced vasodilation in mesenteric arteries compared to controls. To drive sGC oxidation and elevate BP, we infused mice with angiotensin-II. We found SMC CYB5R3 KO mice exhibited a 14.75 mmHg BP increase and mesenteric arteries had diminished NO-dependent vasodilation, but increased responsiveness to sGC heme-independent activator BAY 58-2667 over controls. Furthermore, acute injection of BAY 58-2667 in angiotensin-II treated SMC CYB5R3 KO mice showed greater BP reduction compared to controls. Together, these data provide the first in vivo evidence that SMC CYB5R3 is a sGC heme reductase in resistance arteries and provides resilience against systemic hypertension development.
Brittany G. Durgin, Scott A. Hahn, Heidi M. Schmidt, Megan P. Miller, Neha Hafeez, Ilka Mathar, Daniel Freitag, Peter Sandner, Adam C. Straub
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of central retinal vision loss worldwide, with an estimated 1 in 10 people over the age of 55 showing early signs of the condition. There are currently no forms of therapy available for the end stage of dry AMD, geographic atrophy (GA). Here, we show that the inner blood-retina barrier (iBRB) is highly dynamic and may play a contributory role in GA development. We have discovered that the gene CLDN5, which encodes claudin-5, a tight junction protein abundantly expressed at the iBRB, is regulated by BMAL1 and the circadian clock. Persistent suppression of claudin-5 expression in mice exposed to a cholesterol-enriched diet induced striking retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell atrophy, and persistent targeted suppression of claudin-5 in the macular region of nonhuman primates induced RPE cell atrophy. Moreover, fundus fluorescein angiography in human and nonhuman primate subjects showed increased retinal vascular permeability in the evening compared with the morning. These findings implicate an inner retina–derived component in the early pathophysiological changes observed in AMD, and we suggest that restoring the integrity of the iBRB may represent a novel therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of GA secondary to dry AMD.
Natalie Hudson, Lucia Celkova, Alan Hopkins, Chris Greene, Federica Storti, Ema Ozaki, Erin Fahey, Sofia Theodoropoulou, Paul F. Kenna, Marian M. Humphries, Annie M. Curtis, Eleanor Demmons, Akeem Browne, Shervin Liddie, Matthew S. Lawrence, Christian Grimm, Mark T. Cahill, Pete Humphries, Sarah L. Doyle, Matthew Campbell
Circulating macrophages recruited to the lung contribute to pulmonary vascular remodeling in various forms of pulmonary hypertension (PH). In this study we investigated a macrophage phenotype characterized by intracellular iron accumulation and expression of antioxidant (HO-1), vasoactive (ET-1), and proinflammatory (IL-6) mediators observed in the lung tissue of deceased sickle cell disease (SCD) patients with diagnosed PH. To this end, we evaluated an established rat model of group 5 PH that is simultaneously exposed to free hemoglobin (Hb) and hypobaric hypoxia (HX). Here, we tested the hypothesis that pulmonary vascular remodeling observed in human SCD with concomitant PH could be replicated and mechanistically driven in our rat model by a similar macrophage phenotype with iron accumulation and expression of a similar mixture of antioxidant (HO-1), vasoactive (ET-1), and inflammatory (IL-6) proteins. Our data suggest phenotypic similarities between pulmonary perivascular macrophages in our rat model and human SCD with PH, indicating a potentially novel maladaptive immune response to concomitant bouts of Hb and HX exposure. Moreover, by knocking out circulating macrophages with gadolinium trichloride (GdCl3), the response to combined Hb and hypobaric HX was significantly attenuated in rats, suggesting a critical role for macrophages in the exacerbation of SCD PH.
Katherine Redinus, Jin Hyen Baek, Ayla Yalamanoglu, Hye Kyung H. Shin, Radu Moldova, Julie W. Harral, Delaney Swindle, David Pak, Scott K. Ferguson, Rachelle Nuss, Kathryn Hassell, Eva Nozik-Grayck, Andre F. Palmer, Mehdi A. Fini, Vijaya Karoor, Kurt R. Stenmark, Paul W. Buehler, David C. Irwin
Bone provides supportive microenvironments for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and is a frequent site of metastasis. While incidences of bone metastases increase with age, the properties of the bone marrow microenvironment that regulate dormancy and reactivation of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) remain poorly understood. Here, we elucidate the age-associated changes in the bone secretome that trigger proliferation of HSCs, MSCs, and DTCs in the aging bone marrow microenvironment. Remarkably, a bone-specific mechanism involving expansion of pericytes and induction of quiescence-promoting secretome rendered this proliferative microenvironment resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. This bone-specific expansion of pericytes was triggered by an increase in PDGF signaling via remodeling of specialized type H blood vessels in response to therapy. The decline in bone marrow pericytes upon aging provides an explanation for loss of quiescence and expansion of cancer cells in the aged bone marrow microenvironment. Manipulation of blood flow — specifically, reduced blood flow — inhibited pericyte expansion, regulated endothelial PDGF-B expression, and rendered bone metastatic cancer cells susceptible to radiation and chemotherapy. Thus, our study provides a framework to recognize bone marrow vascular niches in age-associated increases in metastasis and to target angiocrine signals in therapeutic strategies to manage bone metastasis.
Amit Singh, Vimal Veeriah, Pengjun Xi, Rossella Labella, Junyu Chen, Sara G. Romeo, Saravana K. Ramasamy, Anjali P. Kusumbe
BACKGROUND Cerebral cavernous angiomas (CAs) with a symptomatic hemorrhage (CASH) have a high risk of recurrent hemorrhage and serious morbidity.METHODS Eighteen plasma molecules with mechanistic roles in CA pathobiology were investigated in 114 patients and 12 healthy subjects. The diagnostic biomarker of a CASH in the prior year was derived as that minimizing the Akaike information criterion and validated using machine learning, and was compared with the prognostic CASH biomarker predicting bleeding in the subsequent year. Biomarkers were longitudinally followed in a subset of cases. The biomarkers were queried in the lesional neurovascular unit (NVU) transcriptome and in plasma miRNAs from CASH and non-CASH patients.RESULTS The diagnostic CASH biomarker included a weighted combination of soluble CD14 (sCD14), VEGF, C-reactive protein (CRP), and IL-10 distinguishing CASH patients with 76% sensitivity and 80% specificity (P = 0.0003). The prognostic CASH biomarker (sCD14, VEGF, IL-1β, and sROBO-4) was confirmed to predict a bleed in the subsequent year with 83% sensitivity and 93% specificity (P = 0.001). Genes associated with diagnostic and prognostic CASH biomarkers were differentially expressed in CASH lesional NVUs. Thirteen plasma miRNAs were differentially expressed between CASH and non-CASH patients.CONCLUSION Shared and unique biomarkers of recent symptomatic hemorrhage and of future bleeding in CA are mechanistically linked to lesional transcriptome and miRNA. The biomarkers may be applied for risk stratification in clinical trials and developed as a tool in clinical practice.FUNDING NIH, William and Judith Davis Fund in Neurovascular Surgery Research, Be Brave for Life Foundation, Safadi Translational Fellowship, Pritzker School of Medicine, and Sigrid Jusélius Foundation.
Seán B. Lyne, Romuald Girard, Janne Koskimäki, Hussein A. Zeineddine, Dongdong Zhang, Ying Cao, Yan Li, Agnieszka Stadnik, Thomas Moore, Rhonda Lightle, Changbin Shi, Robert Shenkar, Julián Carrión-Penagos, Sean P. Polster, Sharbel Romanos, Amy Akers, Miguel Lopez-Ramirez, Kevin J. Whitehead, Mark L. Kahn, Mark H. Ginsberg, Douglas A. Marchuk, Issam A. Awad
Heterozygous missense mutations in lysyl oxidase (LOX) are associated with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. To assess how LOX mutations modify protein function and lead to aortic disease, we studied the factors that influence the onset and progression of vascular aneurysms in mice bearing a Lox mutation (p.M292R) linked to aortic dilation in humans. We show that mice heterozygous for the M292R mutation did not develop aneurysmal disease unless challenged with increased hemodynamic stress. Vessel dilation was confined to the ascending aorta although both the ascending and descending aortae showed changes in vessel wall structure, smooth muscle cell number and inflammatory cell recruitment that differed between wild-type and mutant animals. Studies with isolated cells found that M292R-mutant Lox is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum and ultimately cleared through an autophagy/proteasome pathway. Because the mutant protein does not transit to the Golgi where copper incorporation occurs, the protein is never catalytically active. These studies show that the M292R mutation results in LOX loss-of-function due to a secretion defect that predisposes the ascending aorta in mice (and by extension humans with similar mutations) to arterial dilation when exposed to risk factors that impart stress to the arterial wall.
Vivian S. Lee, Carmen M. Halabi, Thomas J. Broekelmann, Philip C. Trackman, Nathan O. Stitziel, Robert P. Mecham
Patients with mutations in Cullin-3 (CUL3) exhibit severe early onset hypertension but the contribution of the smooth muscle remains unclear. Conditional genetic ablation of CUL3 in vascular smooth muscle (S-CUL3KO) causes progressive impairment in responsiveness to nitric oxide (NO), rapid development of severe hypertension, and increased arterial stiffness. Loss of CUL3 in primary aortic smooth muscle cells or aorta resulted in decreased expression of the NO receptor, soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), causing a marked reduction in cGMP production and impaired vasodilation to cGMP analogues. Vasodilation responses to a selective large conductance Ca2+-activated K+-channel activator were normal suggesting that downstream signals which promote smooth muscle-dependent relaxation remained intact. We conclude that smooth muscle specific CUL3 ablation impairs both cGMP production and cGMP responses and that loss of CUL3 function selectively in smooth muscle is sufficient to cause severe hypertension by interfering with the NO-sGC-cGMP pathway. Our study provides compelling evidence for the sufficiency of vascular smooth muscle CUL3 as a major regulator of BP. CUL3 mutations cause severe vascular dysfunction, arterial stiffness and hypertension due to defects in vascular smooth muscle.
Larry N. Agbor, Anand R. Nair, Jing Wu, Ko-Ting Lu, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, James A. McCormick, Jeffrey D. Singer, Curt D. Sigmund
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