In hemolytic diseases, such as sickle cell disease (SCD), intravascular hemolysis results in the release of hemoglobin, heme, and heme-loaded membrane microvesicles in the bloodstream. Intravascular hemolysis is thus associated with inflammation and organ injury. Complement system can be activated by heme in vitro. We investigated the mechanisms by which hemolysis and red blood cell (RBC) degradation products trigger complement activation in vivo. In kidney biopsies of SCD nephropathy patients and a mouse model with SCD, we detected tissue deposits of complement C3 and C5b-9. Moreover, drug-induced intravascular hemolysis or injection of heme or hemoglobin in mice triggered C3 deposition, primarily in kidneys. Renal injury markers (Kim-1, NGAL) were attenuated in C3–/– hemolytic mice. RBC degradation products, such as heme-loaded microvesicles and heme, induced alternative and terminal complement pathway activation in sera and on endothelial surfaces, in contrast to hemoglobin. Heme triggered rapid P selectin, C3aR, and C5aR expression and downregulated CD46 on endothelial cells. Importantly, complement deposition was attenuated in vivo and in vitro by heme scavenger hemopexin. In conclusion, we demonstrate that intravascular hemolysis triggers complement activation in vivo, encouraging further studies on its role in SCD nephropathy. Conversely, heme inhibition using hemopexin may provide a novel therapeutic opportunity to limit complement activation in hemolytic diseases.
Nicolas S. Merle, Anne Grunenwald, Helena Rajaratnam, Viviane Gnemmi, Marie Frimat, Marie-Lucile Figueres, Samantha Knockaert, Sanah Bouzekri, Dominique Charue, Remi Noe, Tania Robe-Rybkine, Marie Le-Hoang, Nathan Brinkman, Thomas Gentinetta, Monika Edler, Sara Petrillo, Emanuela Tolosano, Sylvia Miescher, Sylvain Le Jeune, Pascal Houillier, Sophie Chauvet, Marion Rabant, Jordan D. Dimitrov, Veronique Fremeaux-Bacchi, Olivier P. Blanc-Brude, Lubka T. Roumenina
Metabolic syndrome contributes to cardiovascular disease partly through systemic risk factors. However, local processes in the artery wall are becoming increasingly recognized to exacerbate atherosclerosis both in mice and humans. We show that arterial smooth muscle cell (SMC) glucose metabolism markedly synergizes with metabolic syndrome in accelerating atherosclerosis progression, using a low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient mouse model. SMCs in proximity to atherosclerotic lesions express increased levels of the glucose transporter GLUT1. Cytokines, such as TNF-α produced by lesioned arteries, promote GLUT1 expression in SMCs, which in turn increases expression of the chemokine CCL2 through increased glycolysis and the polyol pathway. Furthermore, overexpression of GLUT1 in SMCs, but not in myeloid cells, accelerates development of larger, more advanced lesions in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome, which also exhibits elevated levels of circulating Ly6Chi monocytes expressing the CCL2 receptor CCR2. Accordingly, monocyte tracing experiments demonstrate that targeted SMC GLUT1 overexpression promotes Ly6Chi monocyte recruitment to lesions. Strikingly, SMC-targeted GLUT1 overexpression fails to accelerate atherosclerosis in mice that do not exhibit the metabolic syndrome phenotype or monocytosis. These results reveal a potentially novel mechanism whereby arterial smooth muscle glucose metabolism synergizes with metabolic syndrome to accelerate monocyte recruitment and atherosclerosis progression.
Valerie Z. Wall, Shelley Barnhart, Jenny E. Kanter, Farah Kramer, Masami Shimizu-Albergine, Neeta Adhikari, Thomas N. Wight, Jennifer L. Hall, Karin E. Bornfeldt
Preeclampsia (PE), associates with long-term increased risk for cardiovascular disease in women, suggesting that PE is not an isolated disease of pregnancy. It is not known if increased risk for long-term diseases is due to PE-specific factors or to prepregnancy renal and cardiovascular risk factors. We used a mouse model in which a WT female with normal prepregnancy health develops PE to investigate if preeclampsia causes long-term cardiovascular consequences after pregnancy for mothers and offspring. Mothers exhibited endothelial dysfunction and hypertension after PE and had glomerular injury that not only persisted but deteriorated, leading to fibrosis. Left ventricular (LV) remodeling characterized by increased collagen deposition and MMP-9 expression and enlarged cardiomyocytes were also detected after PE. Increased LV internal wall thickness and mass, increased end diastolic and end systolic volumes, and increased stroke volume were observed after PE in the mothers. Placenta-derived bioactive factors that modulate vascular function, markers of metabolic disease, vasoconstrictor isoprostane-8, and proinflammatory mediators were increased in sera during and after a preeclamptic pregnancy in the mother. Offspring of PE mice developed endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, and signs of metabolic disease. Microglia activation was increased in the neonatal brains after PE, suggesting neurogenic hypertension in offspring. Prevention of placental insufficiency with pravastatin prevented PE-associated cardiovascular complications in both mothers and offspring. In conclusion, factors that develop during PE have long-term, cardiovascular effects in the mother and offspring independent of prepregnancy risk factors.
Nicola Garrett, Joaquim Pombo, Michelle Umpierrez, James E. Clark, Mark Simmons, Guillermina Girardi
Alterations in ectopic lipid deposition and circulating lipids are major risk factors for developing cardiometabolic diseases. Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4), a protein that inhibits lipoprotein lipase (LPL), controls fatty acid (FA) uptake in adipose and oxidative tissues and regulates circulating triacylglycerol-rich (TAG-rich) lipoproteins. Unfortunately, global depletion of ANGPTL4 results in severe metabolic abnormalities, inflammation, and fibrosis when mice are fed a high-fat diet (HFD), limiting our understanding of the contribution of ANGPTL4 in metabolic disorders. Here, we demonstrate that genetic ablation of ANGPTL4 in adipose tissue (AT) results in enhanced LPL activity, rapid clearance of circulating TAGs, increased AT lipolysis and FA oxidation, and decreased FA synthesis in AT. Most importantly, we found that absence of ANGPTL4 in AT prevents excessive ectopic lipid deposition in the liver and muscle, reducing novel PKC (nPKC) membrane translocation and enhancing insulin signaling. As a result, we observed a remarkable improvement in glucose tolerance in short-term HFD-fed AT-specific Angptl4-KO mice. Finally, lack of ANGPTL4 in AT enhances the clearance of proatherogenic lipoproteins, attenuates inflammation, and reduces atherosclerosis. Together, these findings uncovered an essential role of AT ANGPTL4 in regulating peripheral lipid deposition, influencing whole-body lipid and glucose metabolism and the progression of atherosclerosis.
Binod Aryal, Abhishek K. Singh, Xinbo Zhang, Luis Varela, Noemi Rotllan, Leigh Goedeke, Balkrishna Chaube, Joao-Paulo Camporez, Daniel F. Vatner, Tamas L. Horvath, Gerald I. Shulman, Yajaira Suárez, Carlos Fernández-Hernando
Using an untargeted metabolomics approach in initial (N = 99 subjects) and replication cohorts (N = 1,162), we discovered and structurally identified a plasma metabolite associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks, N6,N6,N6-trimethyl-L-lysine (trimethyllysine, TML). Stable-isotope-dilution tandem mass spectrometry analyses of an independent validation cohort (N = 2,140) confirmed TML levels are independently associated with incident (3-year) major adverse cardiovascular event risks (hazards ratio [HR], 2.4; 95% CI, 1.7–3.4) and incident (5-year) mortality risk (HR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.0–4.2). Genome-wide association studies identified several suggestive loci for TML levels, but none reached genome-wide significance; and d9(trimethyl)-TML isotope tracer studies confirmed TML can serve as a nutrient precursor for gut microbiota–dependent generation of trimethylamine (TMA) and the atherogenic metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Although TML was shown to be abundant in both plant- and animal-derived foods, mouse and human fecal cultures (omnivores and vegans) showed slow conversion of TML to TMA. Furthermore, unlike chronic dietary choline, TML supplementation in mice failed to elevate plasma TMAO or heighten thrombosis potential in vivo. Thus, TML is identified as a strong predictor of incident CVD risks in subjects and to serve as a dietary precursor for gut microbiota–dependent generation of TMAO; however, TML does not appear to be a major microbial source for TMAO generation in vivo.
Xinmin S. Li, Zeneng Wang, Tomas Cajka, Jennifer A. Buffa, Ina Nemet, Alex G. Hurd, Xiaodong Gu, Sarah M. Skye, Adam B. Roberts, Yuping Wu, Lin Li, Christopher J. Shahen, Matthew A. Wagner, Jaana A. Hartiala, Robert L. Kerby, Kymberleigh A. Romano, Yi Han, Slayman Obeid, Thomas F. Lüscher, Hooman Allayee, Federico E. Rey, Joseph A. DiDonato, Oliver Fiehn, W.H. Wilson Tang, Stanley L. Hazen
Proteoglycan accumulation is a hallmark of medial degeneration in thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD). Here, we defined the aortic proteoglycanome using mass spectrometry, and based on the findings, investigated the large aggregating proteoglycans aggrecan and versican in human ascending TAAD and a mouse model of severe Marfan syndrome. The aortic proteoglycanome comprises 20 proteoglycans including aggrecan and versican. Antibodies against these proteoglycans intensely stained medial degeneration lesions in TAAD, contrasting with modest intralamellar staining in controls. Aggrecan, but not versican, was increased in longitudinal analysis of Fbn1mgR/mgR aortas. TAAD and Fbn1mgR/mgR aortas had increased aggrecan and versican mRNAs, and reduced expression of a key proteoglycanase gene, ADAMTS5, was seen in TAAD. Fbn1mgR/mgR mice with ascending aortic dissection and/or rupture had dramatically increased aggrecan staining compared with mice without these complications. Thus, aggrecan and versican accumulation in ascending TAAD occurs via increased synthesis and/or reduced proteolytic turnover, and correlates with aortic dissection/rupture in Fbn1mgR/mgR mice. Tissue swelling imposed by aggrecan and versican is proposed to be profoundly deleterious to aortic wall mechanics and smooth muscle cell homeostasis, predisposing to type-A dissections. These proteoglycans provide potential biomarkers for refined risk stratification and timing of elective aortic aneurysm repair.
Frank S. Cikach, Christopher D. Koch, Timothy J. Mead, Josephine Galatioto, Belinda B. Willard, Kelly B. Emerton, Matthew J. Eagleton, Eugene H. Blackstone, Francesco Ramirez, Eric E. Roselli, Suneel S. Apte
Early acute rejection of human allografts is mediated by circulating alloreactive host effector memory T cells (TEM). TEM infiltration typically occurs across graft postcapillary venules and involves sequential interactions with graft-derived endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes (PCs). While the role of ECs in allograft rejection has been extensively studied, contributions of PCs to this process are largely unknown. This study aimed to characterize the effects and mechanisms of interactions between human PCs and allogeneic TEM. We report that unstimulated PCs, like ECs, can directly present alloantigen to TEM, but while IFN-γ–activated ECs (γ-ECs) show increased ability to stimulate alloreactive T cells, IFN-γ–activated PCs (γ-PCs) instead suppress TEM proliferation but not cytokine production or signaling. RNA sequencing analysis of PCs, γ-PCs, ECs, and γ-ECs reveal induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) in γ-PCs to significantly higher levels than in γ-ECs that correlates with tryptophan depletion in vitro. Consistently, shRNA knockdown of IDO1 markedly reduces γ-PC–mediated immunoregulatory effects. Furthermore, human PCs express IDO1 in a skin allograft rejection humanized mouse model and in human renal allografts with acute T cell–mediated rejection. We conclude that immunosuppressive properties of human PCs are not intrinsic but instead result from IFN-γ–induced IDO1-mediated tryptophan depletion.
Rebecca Liu, Jonathan Merola, Thomas D. Manes, Lingfeng Qin, Gregory T. Tietjen, Francesc López-Giráldez, Verena Broecker, Caodi Fang, Catherine Xie, Ping-Min Chen, Nancy C. Kirkiles-Smith, Dan Jane-Wit, Jordan S. Pober
Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene mutations induce neural tissue hemangioblastomas, as well as highly vascularized clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs). Pathological vessel remodeling arises from misregulation of HIFs and VEGF, among other genes. Variation in disease penetrance has long been recognized in relation to genotype. We show Vhl mutations also disrupt Notch signaling, causing mutation-specific vascular abnormalities, e.g., type 1 (null) vs. type 2B (murine G518A representing human R167Q). In conditional mutation retina vasculature, Vhl-null mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/fl) had little effect on initial vessel branching, but it severely reduced arterial and venous branching at later stages. Interestingly, this mutation accelerated arterial maturation, as observed in retina vessel morphology and aberrant α-smooth muscle actin localization, particularly in vascular pericytes. RNA sequencing analysis identified gene expression changes within several key pathways, including Notch and smooth muscle cell contractility. Notch inhibition failed to reverse later-stage branching defects but rescued the accelerated arterialization. Retinal vessels harboring the type 2B Vhl mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/2B) displayed stage-specific changes in vessel branching and an advanced progression toward an arterial phenotype. Disrupting Notch signaling in type 2B mutants increased both artery and vein branching and restored arterial maturation toward nonmutant levels. By revealing differential effects of the null and type 2B Vhl mutations on vessel branching and maturation, these data may provide insight into the variability of VHL-associated vascular changes — particularly the heterogeneity and aggressiveness in ccRCC vessel growth — and also suggest Notch pathway targets for treating VHL syndrome.
Alexandra Arreola, Laura Beth Payne, Morgan H. Julian, Aguirre A. de Cubas, Anthony B. Daniels, Sarah Taylor, Huaning Zhao, Jordan Darden, Victoria L. Bautch, W. Kimryn Rathmell, John C. Chappell
Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is an essential regulator of the differentiated vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype. Our goal was to establish that PTEN loss promotes SMC dedifferentiation and pathological vascular remodeling in human atherosclerotic coronary arteries and nonatherosclerotic coronary arteries exposed to continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs). Arteries were categorized as nonatherosclerotic hyperplasia (NAH), atherosclerotic hyperplasia (AH), or complex plaque (CP). NAH coronary arteries from CF-LVAD patients were compared to NAH coronaries from non-LVAD patients. Intimal PTEN and SMC contractile protein expression was reduced compared with the media in arteries with NAH, AH, or CP. Compared with NAH, PTEN and SMC contractile protein expression was reduced in the media and intima of arteries with AH and CP. NAH arteries from CF-LVAD patients showed marked vascular remodeling and reduced PTEN and α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) in medial SMCs compared with arteries from non-LVAD patients; this correlated with increased medial collagen deposition. Mechanistically, compared with ApoE–/– mice, SMC-specific PTEN-null/ApoE–/– double-knockout mice exhibited accelerated atherosclerosis progression and increased vascular fibrosis. By microarray and validated quantitative RT-PCR analysis, SMC PTEN deficiency promotes a global upregulation of proinflammatory and profibrotic genes. We propose that PTEN is an antiinflammatory, antifibrotic target that functions to maintain SMC differentiation. SMC loss of PTEN results in pathological vascular remodeling of human arteries.
Karen S. Moulton, Marcella Li, Keith Strand, Shawna Burgett, Penn McClatchey, Rebecca Tucker, Seth B. Furgeson, Sizhao Lu, Bruce Kirkpatrick, Joseph C. Cleveland, Raphael A. Nemenoff, Amrut V. Ambardekar, Mary C.M. Weiser-Evans
Several imaging modalities have been used to assess lymphatic function, including fluorescence microscopy, near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging, and Doppler optical coherence tomography (DOCT). They vary in how the mouse is positioned, the invasiveness of the experimental setup, and the volume of contrast agent injected. Here, we present how each of these experimental parameters affects functional measurements of collecting lymphatic vessels. First, fluorescence microscopy showed that supine mice have a statistically lower contraction frequency compared with mice sitting upright. To assess the effect of different injection volumes on these endpoints, mice were injected with 4, 10, or 20 μl of dye. The lowest frequencies were observed after 20-μl injections. Interestingly, lymph-flow DOCT revealed that although there was lower contraction frequency in mice injected with 20 μl versus 4 μl, mice showed a higher volumetric flow with a 20-μl injection. This indicates that contraction frequency alone is not sufficient to understand lymphatic transport. Finally, NIRF revealed that removing the skin reduced contraction frequency. Therefore, this study reveals how sensitive these techniques are to mouse position, removal of skin, and dye volume. Care should be taken when comparing results obtained under different experimental conditions.
Echoe M. Bouta, Cedric Blatter, Thomas A. Ruggieri, Eelco F.J. Meijer, Lance L. Munn, Benjamin J. Vakoc, Timothy P. Padera
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