smooth muscle cells
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Angiogenesis ◽  
2022 ◽  
Harri Elamaa ◽  
Mika Kaakinen ◽  
Marjut Nätynki ◽  
Zoltan Szabo ◽  
Veli-Pekka Ronkainen ◽  

AbstractHypoxia plays an important regulatory role in the vasculature to adjust blood flow to meet metabolic requirements. At the level of gene transcription, the responses are mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) the stability of which is controlled by the HIF prolyl 4-hydroxylase-2 (PHD2). In the lungs hypoxia results in vasoconstriction, however, the pathophysiological relevance of PHD2 in the major arterial cell types; endothelial cells (ECs) and arterial smooth muscle cells (aSMCs) in the adult vasculature is incompletely characterized. Here, we investigated PHD2-dependent vascular homeostasis utilizing inducible deletions of PHD2 either in ECs (Phd2∆ECi) or in aSMCs (Phd2∆aSMC). Cardiovascular function and lung pathologies were studied using echocardiography, Doppler ultrasonography, intraventricular pressure measurement, histological, ultrastructural, and transcriptional methods. Cell intrinsic responses were investigated in hypoxia and in conditions mimicking hypertension-induced hemodynamic stress. Phd2∆ECi resulted in progressive pulmonary disease characterized by a thickened respiratory basement membrane (BM), alveolar fibrosis, increased pulmonary artery pressure, and adaptive hypertrophy of the right ventricle (RV). A low oxygen environment resulted in alterations in cultured ECs similar to those in Phd2∆ECi mice, involving BM components and vascular tone regulators favoring the contraction of SMCs. In contrast, Phd2∆aSMC resulted in elevated RV pressure without alterations in vascular tone regulators. Mechanistically, PHD2 inhibition in aSMCs involved  actin polymerization -related tension development via activated cofilin. The results also indicated that hemodynamic stress, rather than PHD2-dependent hypoxia response alone, potentiates structural remodeling of the extracellular matrix in the pulmonary microvasculature and respiratory failure.

2022 ◽  
Vol 2022 ◽  
pp. 1-9
Xiaomei Guan ◽  
Hai Xin ◽  
Meiling Xu ◽  
Jianlei Ji ◽  
Jun Li

Background. Data mining of current gene expression databases has not been previously performed to determine whether sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) expression participates in the pathological process of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The present study was aimed at investigating the role and mechanism of SIRT6 in regulating phenotype transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) in AAA. Methods. Three gene expression microarray datasets of AAA patients in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database and one dataset of SIRT6-knockout (KO) mice were selected, and the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified using GEO2R. Furthermore, Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses of both the AAA-related DEGs and the SIRT6-related DEGs were conducted. Results. GEO2R analysis showed that the expression of SIRT6 was downregulated for three groups and upregulated for one group in the three datasets, and none of them satisfied statistical significance. There were top 5 DEGs (KYNU, NPTX2, SCRG1, GRK5, and RGS5) in both of the human AAA group and SIRT6-KO mouse group. Top 25 ontology of the SIRT6-KO-related DEGs showed that several pathways including tryptophan catabolic process to kynurenine and negative regulation of cell growth were enriched in the tissues of thickness aortic wall biopsies of AAA patients. Conclusions. Although SIRT6 mRNA level itself did not change among AAA patients, SIRT6 may play an important role in regulating several signaling pathways with significant association with AAA, suggesting that SIRT6 mRNA upregulation is a protective factor for VSMC against AAA.

2022 ◽  
Vol 23 (2) ◽  
pp. 580
Dawid M. Kaczor ◽  
Rafael Kramann ◽  
Tilman M. Hackeng ◽  
Leon J. Schurgers ◽  
Rory R. Koenen

Platelet factor 4 (CXCL4) is a chemokine abundantly stored in platelets. Upon injury and during atherosclerosis, CXCL4 is transported through the vessel wall where it modulates the function of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) by affecting proliferation, migration, gene expression and cytokine release. Variant CXCL4L1 is distinct from CXCL4 in function and expression pattern, despite a minor three-amino acid difference. Here, the effects of CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 on the phenotype and function of human VSMCs were compared in vitro. VSMCs were found to constitutively express CXCL4L1 and only exogenously added CXCL4 was internalized by VSMCs. Pre-treatment with heparin completely blocked CXCL4 uptake. A role of the putative CXCL4 receptors CXCR3 and DARC in endocytosis was excluded, but LDL receptor family members appeared to be involved in the uptake of CXCL4. Incubation of VSMCs with both CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 resulted in decreased expression of contractile marker genes and increased mRNA levels of KLF4 and NLRP3 transcription factors, yet only CXCL4 stimulated proliferation and calcification of VSMCs. In conclusion, CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 both modulate gene expression, yet only CXCL4 increases the division rate and formation of calcium-phosphate crystals in VSMCs. CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 may play distinct roles during vascular remodeling in which CXCL4 induces proliferation and calcification while endogenously expressed CXCL4L1 governs cellular homeostasis. The latter notion remains a subject for future investigation.

Paul Cheng ◽  
Robert C. Wirka ◽  
Lee Shoa Clarke ◽  
Quanyi Zhao ◽  
Ramendra Kundu ◽  

Background: Smooth muscle cells (SMC) transition into a number of different phenotypes during atherosclerosis, including those that resemble fibroblasts and chondrocytes, and make up the majority of cells in the atherosclerotic plaque. To better understand the epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms that mediate these cell state changes, and how they relate to risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), we have investigated the causality and function of transcription factors (TFs) at genome wide associated loci. Methods: We employed CRISPR-Cas 9 genome and epigenome editing to identify the causal gene and cell(s) for a complex CAD GWAS signal at 2q22.3. Subsequently, single-cell epigenetic and transcriptomic profiling in murine models and human coronary artery smooth muscle cells were employed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanism by which this CAD risk gene exerts its function. Results: CRISPR-Cas 9 genome and epigenome editing showed that the complex CAD genetic signals within a genomic region at 2q22.3 lie within smooth muscle long-distance enhancers for ZEB2 , a TF extensively studied in the context of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) in development and cancer. ZEB2 regulates SMC phenotypic transition through chromatin remodeling that obviates accessibility and disrupts both Notch and TGFβ signaling, thus altering the epigenetic trajectory of SMC transitions. SMC specific loss of ZEB2 resulted in an inability of transitioning SMCs to turn off contractile programing and take on a fibroblast-like phenotype, but accelerated the formation of chondromyocytes, mirroring features of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques in human coronary arteries. Conclusions: These studies identify ZEB2 as a new CAD GWAS gene that affects features of plaque vulnerability through direct effects on the epigenome, providing a new thereapeutic approach to target vascular disease.

2022 ◽  
Vol 2022 ◽  
pp. 1-16
Yi Zhang ◽  
Yong Tang ◽  
Jianhua Yan

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are untranslated transcripts greater than 200 nucleotides in length. Despite not being translated, they play a role in the regulation of transcription, translation, and other cellular processes and have been identified as key regulator in the progression of atherosclerosis. This study focused on the lncRNA X-inactive specific transcript (XIST), which participates in the regulation of X chromosome inactivation. XIST is produced by the XIST gene and is located on human chromosome Xql3.2. We also focused on discovering the possible role and mechanism of lncRNA XIST in oxidized low-density lipoprotein- (ox-LDL-) stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), which could further help evalute its possible a role in the progression of atherosclerosis. XIST was overexpressed in ox-LDL-stimulated VSMCs, while the expression of miR-539-5p was decreased. XIST knockdown hindered the proliferation and migration of ox-LDL-treated VSMCs. XIST inhibits the miR-539-5p expression through direct interaction. Besides, miR-539-5p inhibitors can partially reverse the effect of XIST depletion on the proliferation and migration of VSMCs induced by ox-LDL stimulation. Further mechanistic analysis showed that secreted phosphoprotein 1 (SPP1) is the target of miR-539-5p, and XIST acts as a competing endogenous RNA for miR-539-5p to enhance the expression of SPP1. In addition, miR-539-5p inhibitor exerts its proliferation and migration effects by activating the miR-539-5p/SPP1 axis in VSMCs stimulated by ox-LDL. In conclusion, our study findings show that XIST inhibition can inhibit the proliferation and migration of atherosclerosis vascular smooth muscle cells, which provides a new theoretical basis for atherosclerosis treatment.

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