BACKGROUND.l-Carnitine, an abundant nutrient in red meat, accelerates atherosclerosis in mice via gut microbiota–dependent formation of trimethylamine (TMA) and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) via a multistep pathway involving an atherogenic intermediate, γ-butyrobetaine (γBB). The contribution of γBB in gut microbiota–dependent l-carnitine metabolism in humans is unknown. METHODS. Omnivores and vegans/vegetarians ingested deuterium-labeled l-carnitine (d3-l-carnitine) or γBB (d9-γBB), and both plasma metabolites and fecal polymicrobial transformations were examined at baseline, following oral antibiotics, or following chronic (≥2 months) l-carnitine supplementation. Human fecal commensals capable of performing each step of the l-carnitine→γBB→TMA transformation were identified. RESULTS. Studies with oral d3-l-carnitine or d9-γBB before versus after antibiotic exposure revealed gut microbiota contribution to the initial 2 steps in a metaorganismal l-carnitine→γBB→TMA→TMAO pathway in subjects. Moreover, a striking increase in d3-TMAO generation was observed in omnivores over vegans/vegetarians (>20-fold; P = 0.001) following oral d3-l-carnitine ingestion, whereas fasting endogenous plasma l-carnitine and γBB levels were similar in vegans/vegetarians (n = 32) versus omnivores (n = 40). Fecal metabolic transformation studies, and oral isotope tracer studies before versus after chronic l-carnitine supplementation, revealed that omnivores and vegans/vegetarians alike rapidly converted carnitine to γBB, whereas the second gut microbial transformation, γBB→TMA, was diet inducible (l-carnitine, omnivorous). Extensive anaerobic subculturing of human feces identified no single commensal capable of l-carnitine→TMA transformation, multiple community members that converted l-carnitine to γBB, and only 1 Clostridiales bacterium, Emergencia timonensis, that converted γBB to TMA. In coculture, E. timonensis promoted the complete l-carnitine→TMA transformation. CONCLUSION. In humans, dietary l-carnitine is converted into the atherosclerosis- and thrombosis-promoting metabolite TMAO via 2 sequential gut microbiota–dependent transformations: (a) initial rapid generation of the atherogenic intermediate γBB, followed by (b) transformation into TMA via low-abundance microbiota in omnivores, and to a markedly lower extent, in vegans/vegetarians. Gut microbiota γBB→TMA/TMAO transformation is induced by omnivorous dietary patterns and chronic l-carnitine exposure. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01731236. FUNDING. NIH and Office of Dietary Supplements grants HL103866, HL126827, and DK106000, and the Leducq Foundation.
Robert A. Koeth, Betzabe Rachel Lam-Galvez, Jennifer Kirsop, Zeneng Wang, Bruce S. Levison, Xiaodong Gu, Matthew F. Copeland, David Bartlett, David B. Cody, Hong J. Dai, Miranda K. Culley, Xinmin S. Li, Xiaoming Fu, Yuping Wu, Lin Li, Joseph A. DiDonato, W.H. Wilson Tang, Jose Carlos Garcia-Garcia, Stanley L. Hazen
Activation of the type 1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) triggers proinflammatory signaling through pathways independent of classical Gq signaling that regulate vascular homeostasis. Here, we report that the AT1 receptor preformed a heteromeric complex with the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE). Activation of the AT1 receptor by angiotensin II (Ang II) triggered transactivation of the cytosolic tail of RAGE and NF-κB–driven proinflammatory gene expression independently of the liberation of RAGE ligands or the ligand-binding ectodomain of RAGE. The importance of this transactivation pathway was demonstrated by our finding that adverse proinflammatory signaling events induced by AT1 receptor activation were attenuated when RAGE was deleted or transactivation of its cytosolic tail was inhibited. At the same time, classical homeostatic Gq signaling pathways were unaffected by RAGE deletion or inhibition. These data position RAGE transactivation by the AT1 receptor as a target for vasculoprotective interventions. As proof of concept, we showed that treatment with the mutant RAGE peptide S391A-RAGE362–404 was able to inhibit transactivation of RAGE and attenuate Ang II–dependent inflammation and atherogenesis. Furthermore, treatment with WT RAGE362–404 restored Ang II–dependent atherogenesis in Ager/Apoe-KO mice, without restoring ligand-mediated signaling via RAGE, suggesting that the major effector of RAGE activation was its transactivation.
Raelene J. Pickering, Christos Tikellis, Carlos J. Rosado, Despina Tsorotes, Alexandra Dimitropoulos, Monique Smith, Olivier Huet, Ruth M. Seeber, Rekhati Abhayawardana, Elizabeth K.M. Johnstone, Jonathan Golledge, Yutang Wang, Karin A. Jandeleit-Dahm, Mark E. Cooper, Kevin D.G. Pfleger, Merlin C. Thomas
Tumor cure with conventional fractionated radiotherapy is 65%, dependent on tumor cell-autonomous gradual buildup of DNA double strand break (DSB) misrepair. Here we report single dose radiotherapy (SDRT), a disruptive technique that ablates >90% of human cancers, operates a distinct dual-target mechanism, linking acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase)-mediated microvascular perfusion defects to DNA unrepair in tumor cells to confer tumor cell lethality. ASMase-mediated microcirculatory vasoconstriction post-SDRT conferred an ischemic stress response within parenchymal tumor cells, with reactive oxygen species triggering the evolutionarily conserved SUMO Stress Response, specifically depleting chromatin-associated free SUMO3. Whereas SUMO3, but not SUMO2, was indispensible for homology-directed repair (HDR) of DSBs, HDR loss-of-function post-SDRT yielded DSB unrepair, chromosomal aberrations and tumor clonogen demise. Vasoconstriction blockade with the endothelin-1 inhibitor BQ-123, or ROS scavenging post-SDRT using peroxiredoxin-6 overexpression or the SOD-mimetic tempol, prevented chromatin SUMO3 depletion, HDR loss-of-function and SDRT tumor ablation. We also provide evidence of mouse to human translation of this biology in a randomized clinical trial, showing 24Gy SDRT, but not 3x9Gy fractionation, coupled early tumor ischemia/reperfusion to human cancer ablation. The SDRT biology provides opportunities for mechanism-based selective tumor radiosensitization via accessing SDRT/ASMase signaling, as current studies indicate this pathway is tractable to pharmacologic intervention.
Sahra Bodo, Cecile Campagne, Tin Htwe Thin, Daniel S. Higginson, H. Alberto Vargas, Guoqiang Hua, John D. Fuller, Ellen Ackerstaff, James Russell, Zhigang Zhang, Stefan Klingler, HyungJoon Cho, Matthew G. Kaag, Yousef Mazaheri, Andreas Rimner, Katia Manova-Todorova, Boris Epel, Joan Zatcky, Cristian R. Cleary, Shyam S. Rao, Yoshiya Yamada, Michael J. Zelefsky, Howard J. Halpern, Jason A. Koutcher, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Carlo Greco, Adriana Haimovitz-Friedman, Evis Sala, Simon N. Powell, Richard Kolesnick, Zvi Fuks
Emerging evidence indicates that angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2), a well-recognized vascular destabilizing factor, is a biomarker of poor outcome in ischemic heart disease. However, its precise role in postischemic cardiovascular remodeling is poorly understood. Here, we show that Angpt2 plays multifaceted roles in the exacerbation of cardiac hypoxia and inflammation after myocardial ischemia. Angpt2 was highly expressed in endothelial cells at the infarct border zone after myocardial infarction (MI) or ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice. In the acute phase of MI, endothelial-derived Angpt2 antagonized Angpt1/Tie2 signaling, which was greatly involved in pericyte detachment, vascular leakage, increased adhesion molecular expression, degradation of the glycocalyx and extracellular matrix, and enhanced neutrophil infiltration and hypoxia in the infarct border area. In the chronic remodeling phase after MI, endothelial- and macrophage-derived Angpt2 continuously promoted abnormal vascular remodeling and proinflammatory macrophage polarization through integrin α5β1 signaling, worsening cardiac hypoxia and inflammation. Accordingly, inhibition of Angpt2 either by gene deletion or using an anti-Angpt2 blocking antibody substantially alleviated these pathological findings and ameliorated postischemic cardiovascular remodeling. Blockade of Angpt2 thus has potential as a therapeutic option for ischemic heart failure.
Seung-Jun Lee, Choong-kun Lee, Seok Kang, Intae Park, Yoo Hyung Kim, Seo Ki Kim, Seon Pyo Hong, Hosung Bae, Yulong He, Yoshiaki Kubota, Gou Young Koh
Arteriolar endothelial cell–expressed (EC-expressed) α-globin binds endothelial NOS (eNOS) and degrades its enzymatic product, NO, via dioxygenation, thereby lessening the vasodilatory effects of NO on nearby vascular smooth muscle. Although this reaction potentially affects vascular physiology, the mechanisms that regulate α-globin expression and dioxygenase activity in ECs are unknown. Without β-globin, α-globin is unstable and cytotoxic, particularly in its oxidized form, which is generated by dioxygenation and recycled via endogenous reductases. We show that the molecular chaperone α-hemoglobin–stabilizing protein (AHSP) promotes arteriolar α-globin expression in vivo and facilitates its reduction by eNOS. In Ahsp−/− mice, EC α-globin was decreased by 70%. Ahsp−/− and Hba1−/− mice exhibited similar evidence of increased vascular NO signaling, including arteriolar dilation, blunted α1-adrenergic vasoconstriction, and reduced blood pressure. Purified α-globin bound eNOS or AHSP, but not both together. In ECs in culture, eNOS or AHSP enhanced α-globin expression posttranscriptionally. However, only AHSP prevented oxidized α-globin precipitation in solution. Finally, eNOS reduced AHSP-bound α-globin approximately 6-fold faster than did the major erythrocyte hemoglobin reductases (cytochrome B5 reductase plus cytochrome B5). Our data support a model whereby redox-sensitive shuttling of EC α-globin between AHSP and eNOS regulates EC NO degradation and vascular tone.
Christophe Lechauve, Joshua T. Butcher, Abdullah Freiwan, Lauren A. Biwer, Julia M. Keith, Miranda E. Good, Hans Ackerman, Heather S. Tillman, Laurent Kiger, Brant E. Isakson, Mitchell J. Weiss
The M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PKM2) is highly expressed in most cancer cells, and has been studied extensively as a driver of oncogenic metabolism. In contrast, the role of PKM2 in nontransformed cells is little studied, and nearly nothing is known of its role, if any, in quiescent cells. We show here that endothelial cells express PKM2 almost exclusively over PKM1. In proliferating endothelial cells, PKM2 is required to suppress p53 and maintain cell cycle progression. In sharp contrast, PKM2 has a strikingly different role in quiescent endothelial cells, where inhibition of PKM2 leads to degeneration of tight junctions and barrier function. Mechanistically, PKM2 regulates barrier function independently of its canonical activity as a pyruvate kinase. Instead, PKM2 suppresses NF-kB and its downstream target, the vascular permeability factor angiopoietin 2. As a consequence, loss of endothelial cell PKM2 in vivo predisposes mice to VEGF-induced vascular leak, and to severe bacteremia and death in response to sepsis. Together, these data demonstrate new roles of PKM2 in quiescent cells, and highlight the need for caution in developing cancer therapies that target PKM2.
Boa Kim, Cholsoon Jang, Harita Dharaneeswaran, Jian Li, Mohit Bhide, Steven Yang, Kristina Li, Zolt Arany
Impaired lymphangiogenesis is a complication of chronic complex diseases, including diabetes. VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling promotes lymphangiogenesis, but how this pathway is affected in diabetes remains poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that loss of epsins 1 and 2 in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) prevented VEGF-C–induced VEGFR3 from endocytosis and degradation. Here, we report that diabetes attenuated VEGF-C–induced lymphangiogenesis in corneal micropocket and Matrigel plug assays in WT mice but not in mice with inducible lymphatic-specific deficiency of epsins 1 and 2 (LEC-iDKO). Consistently, LECs isolated from diabetic LEC-iDKO mice elevated in vitro proliferation, migration, and tube formation in response to VEGF-C over diabetic WT mice. Mechanistically, ROS produced in diabetes induced c-Src–dependent but VEGF-C–independent VEGFR3 phosphorylation, and upregulated epsins through the activation of transcription factor AP-1. Augmented epsins bound to and promoted degradation of newly synthesized VEGFR3 in the Golgi, resulting in reduced availability of VEGFR3 at the cell surface. Preclinically, the loss of lymphatic-specific epsins alleviated insufficient lymphangiogenesis and accelerated the resolution of tail edema in diabetic mice. Collectively, our studies indicate that inhibiting expression of epsins in diabetes protects VEGFR3 against degradation and ameliorates diabetes-triggered inhibition of lymphangiogenesis, thereby providing a novel potential therapeutic strategy to treat diabetic complications.
Hao Wu, H.N. Ashiqur Rahman, Yunzhou Dong, Xiaolei Liu, Yang Lee, Aiyun Wen, Kim H.T. To, Li Xiao, Amy E. Birsner, Lauren Bazinet, Scott Wong, Kai Song, Megan L. Brophy, M. Riaj Mahamud, Baojun Chang, Xiaofeng Cai, Satish Pasula, Sukyoung Kwak, Wenxia Yang, Joyce Bischoff, Jian Xu, Diane R. Bielenberg, J. Brandon Dixon, Robert J. D’Amato, R. Sathish Srinivasan, Hong Chen
Myocardial infarction (MI) arising from obstruction of the coronary circulation engenders massive cardiomyocyte loss and replacement by non-contractile scar tissue, leading to pathological remodeling, dysfunction, and ultimately heart failure. This is presently a global health problem for which there is no effective cure. Following MI, the innate immune system directs the phagocytosis of dead cell debris in an effort to stimulate cell repopulation and tissue renewal. In the mammalian adult heart, however, the persistent influx of immune cells, coupled with the lack of an inherent regenerative capacity, results in cardiac fibrosis. Here, we reveal that stimulation of cardiac lymphangiogenesis with VEGF-C improves clearance of the acute inflammatory response after MI by trafficking immune cells to draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs) in a process dependent on lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1). Deletion of Lyve1 in mice, preventing docking and transit of leukocytes through the lymphatic endothelium, results in exacerbation of chronic inflammation and long-term deterioration of cardiac function. Our findings support targeting of the lymphatic/immune cell axis as a therapeutic paradigm to promote immune modulation and heart repair.
Joaquim Miguel Vieira, Sophie Norman, Cristina Villa del Campo, Thomas J. Cahill, Damien N. Barnette, Mala Gunadasa-Rohling, Louise A. Johnson, David R. Greaves, Carolyn A. Carr, David G. Jackson, Paul R. Riley
Red blood cells (RBCs) influence rheology, release ADP, ATP and nitric oxide suggesting a role for RBCs in hemostasis and thrombosis. Here we provide evidence for a significant contribution of RBCs to thrombus formation. Anemic mice showed enhanced occlusion times upon injury of the carotid artery. A small population of RBCs was located to platelet thrombi and enhanced platelet activation by a direct cell contact via the FasL-FasR (CD95) pathway known to induce apoptosis. Activation of platelets in the presence of RBCs led to platelet FasL exposure that activated FasR on RBCs responsible for externalization of phosphatidylserine (PS) on the RBC membrane. Inhibition or genetic deletion of either FasL or FasR resulted in reduced PS exposure of RBCs and platelets, decreased thrombin generation and reduced thrombus formation in vitro and protection against arterial thrombosis in vivo. Direct cell contacts of platelets and RBCs via FasL-FasR were shown after ligation of the inferior vena cava (IVC) and in surgical specimens of patients after thrombectomy. In a flow restriction model of the IVC, reduced thrombus formation was observed in FasL–/– mice. Taken together, our data reveal a significant contribution of RBCs to thrombosis by the FasL-FasR pathway.
Christoph Klatt, Irena Krüger, Saskia Zey, Kim-Jürgen Krott, Martina Spelleken, Nina Sarah Gowert, Alexander Oberhuber, Lena Pfaff, Wiebke Lückstädt, Kerstin Jurk, Martin Schaller, Hadi Al-Hasani, Jürgen Schrader, Steffen Massberg, Konstantin Stark, Hubert Schelzig, Malte Kelm, Margitta Elvers
Medial vascular calcification, associated with enhanced mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD), is fostered by osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Here, we describe that serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) was upregulated in VSMCs under calcifying conditions. In primary human aortic VSMCs, overexpression of constitutively active SGK1S422D, but not inactive SGK1K127N, upregulated osteo-/chondrogenic marker expression and activity, effects pointing to increased osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation. SGK1S422D induced nuclear translocation and increased transcriptional activity of NF-κB. Silencing or pharmacological inhibition of IKK abrogated the osteoinductive effects of SGK1S422D. Genetic deficiency, silencing, and pharmacological inhibition of SGK1 dissipated phosphate-induced calcification and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of VSMCs. Aortic calcification, stiffness, and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation in mice following cholecalciferol overload were strongly reduced by genetic knockout or pharmacological inhibition of Sgk1 by EMD638683. Similarly, Sgk1 deficiency blunted vascular calcification in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice after subtotal nephrectomy. Treatment of human aortic smooth muscle cells with serum from uremic patients induced osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation, effects ameliorated by EMD638683. These observations identified SGK1 as a key regulator of vascular calcification. SGK1 promoted vascular calcification, at least partly, via NF-κB activation. Inhibition of SGK1 may, thus, reduce the burden of vascular calcification in CKD.
Jakob Voelkl, Trang T.D. Luong, Rashad Tuffaha, Katharina Musculus, Tilman Auer, Xiaoming Lian, Christoph Daniel, Daniel Zickler, Beate Boehme, Michael Sacherer, Bernhard Metzler, Dietmar Kuhl, Maik Gollasch, Kerstin Amann, Dominik N. Müller, Burkert Pieske, Florian Lang, Ioana Alesutan