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Preview: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology current issue

Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology current issue



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Endothelial Functions [Recent Highlights of ATVB]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

The endothelium plays important roles in modulating vascular tone by synthesizing and releasing a variety of endothelium-derived relaxing factors, including vasodilator prostaglandins, NO, and endothelium-dependent hyperpolarization factors, as well as endothelium-derived contracting factors. Endothelial dysfunction is mainly caused by reduced production or action of these relaxing mediators. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that endothelial functions are essential to ensure proper maintenance of vascular homeostasis and that endothelial dysfunction is the hallmark of a wide range of cardiovascular diseases associated with pathological conditions toward vasoconstriction, thrombosis, and inflammatory state. In the clinical settings, evaluation of endothelial functions has gained increasing attention in view of its emerging relevance for cardiovascular disease. Recent experimental and clinical studies in the vascular biology field have demonstrated a close relationship between endothelial functions and cardiovascular disease and the highlighted emerging modulators of endothelial functions, new insight into cardiovascular disease associated with endothelial dysfunction, and potential therapeutic and diagnostic targets with major clinical implications. We herein will summarize the current knowledge on endothelial functions from bench to bedside with particular focus on recent publications in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.






Deletion of Fstl1 (Follistatin-Like 1) From the Endocardial/Endothelial Lineage Causes Mitral Valve Disease [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Fstl1 (Follistatin-like 1) is a secreted protein that is expressed in the atrioventricular valves throughout embryonic development, postnatal maturation, and adulthood. In this study, we investigated the loss of Fstl1 in the endocardium/endothelium and their derived cells.Approach and Results—We conditionally ablated Fstl1 from the endocardial lineage using a transgenic Tie2-Cre mouse model. These mice showed a sustained Bmp and Tgfβ signaling after birth. This resulted in ongoing proliferation and endocardial-to-mesenchymal transition and ultimately in deformed nonfunctional mitral valves and a hypertrophic dilated heart. Echocardiographic and electrocardiographic analyses revealed that loss of Fstl1 leads to mitral regurgitation and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction. Cardiac function gradually deteriorated resulting in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and death of the mice between 2 and 4 weeks after birth.Conclusions—We report on a mouse model in which deletion of Fstl1 from the endocardial/endothelial lineage results in deformed mitral valves, which cause regurgitation, heart failure, and early cardiac death. The findings provide a potential molecular target for the clinical research into myxomatous mitral valve disease.



Recommendation on Design, Execution, and Reporting of Animal Atherosclerosis Studies: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association [AHA Scientific Statements]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Animal studies are a foundation for defining mechanisms of atherosclerosis and potential targets of drugs to prevent lesion development or reverse the disease. In the current literature, it is common to see contradictions of outcomes in animal studies from different research groups, leading to the paucity of extrapolations of experimental findings into understanding the human disease. The purpose of this statement is to provide guidelines for development and execution of experimental design and interpretation in animal studies. Recommendations include the following: (1) animal model selection, with commentary on the fidelity of mimicking facets of the human disease; (2) experimental design and its impact on the interpretation of data; and (3) standard methods to enhance accuracy of measurements and characterization of atherosclerotic lesions.









Fueling Platelets [Editorial]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00







Procoagulant Platelets [Editorial]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00




Tracking Adventitial Fibroblast Contribution to Disease [ATVB in Focus: Identification of Vascular Cell Types: Strengths and Weaknesses of Available Cre-Recombinase Mouse Lines]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Cells present in the adventitia, or outermost layer of the blood vessel, contribute to the progression of vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and aortic dissection. The adventitial fibroblast of the aorta is the prototypic perivascular fibroblast, but the adventitia is composed of multiple distinct cell populations. Therefore, methods for uniquely identifying the fibroblast are critical for a better understanding of how these cells contribute to disease processes. A popular method for distinguishing adventitial cell types relies on the use of genetic tools in the mouse to trace and manipulate these cells. Because lineage tracing relying on Cre-recombinase expressing mice is used more frequently in studies of vascular disease, it is important to outline the advantages and limitations of these genetic tools. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the various genetic tools available in the mouse for the study of resident adventitial fibroblasts.



The Involvement of miRNA in Carotid-Related Stroke [Brief Reviews]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed countries. Stroke is associated with a marked disability burden and has a major economic impact; this is especially true for carotid artery stroke. Major advances in primary and secondary prevention during the last few decades have helped to tackle this public health problem. However, better knowledge of the physiopathology of stroke and its underlying genetic mechanisms is needed to improve diagnosis and therapy. miRNAs are an important, recently identified class of post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression and are known to be involved in cerebrovascular disease. These endogenous, small, noncoding RNAs may have applications as noninvasive biomarkers and therapeutic tools in practice. Here, we review the involvement of several miRNAs in cell-based and whole-animal models of stroke, with a focus on human miRNA profiling studies of carotid artery stroke. Lastly, we describe the miRNAs’ potential role as a biomarker of stroke.



Stasis Promotes Erythrocyte Adhesion to von Willebrand Factor [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Venous thromboembolism is a major contributor to global disease burden. Leukocytes and platelets initiate thrombogenesis on blood stasis and initiate the formation of a fibrin, VWF (von Willebrand factor), and neutrophil extracellular trap scaffold for erythrocytes. However, there is little knowledge on how erythrocytes become stably incorporated into this scaffold. Recently, we described the adhesion of calcium-loaded erythrocytes to endothelial-derived VWF strings. Because VWF is part of the scaffold of venous thrombi, we questioned whether reduced flow or stasis promotes the adhesion of normal erythrocytes to VWF and whether venous thrombi show evidence of erythrocyte–VWF interactions.Approach and Results—In the present work, we perfused, under controlled shear conditions, washed, normal erythrocytes over surface-immobilized plasma and extracellular matrix proteins and showed that normal erythrocytes specifically bind to VWF. The interaction between erythrocytes and VWF significantly increased when the wall shear stress was reduced. Next, we investigated whether erythrocyte–VWF interactions support the structure of venous thrombi. High-resolution immunofluorescence imaging of human venous thrombi showed a striking pattern between erythrocytes, VWF, and fibrin, which suggests that VWF plays a supporting role, linking erythrocytes to fibrin in the thrombus.Conclusions—Our data suggest that erythrocyte retention in venous thrombi is mediated by erythrocyte–VWF or erythrocyte–VWF–fibrin interactions. Targeting erythrocyte retention could be a new strategy in the treatment or prevention of venous thrombosis.



Glucose Transporter 3 Potentiates Degranulation and Is Required for Platelet Activation [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—On activation, platelets increase glucose uptake, glycolysis, and glucose oxidation and consume stored glycogen. This correlation between glucose metabolism and platelet function is not well understood and even less is known about the role of glucose metabolism on platelet function in vivo. For glucose to enter a cell, it must be transported through glucose transporters. Here we evaluate the contribution of GLUT3 (glucose transporter 3) to platelet function to better understand glucose metabolism in platelets.Approach and Results—Platelet-specific knockout of GLUT3 was generated by crossing mice harboring GLUT3 floxed allele to a PF4 (platelet factor 4)-driven Cre recombinase. In platelets, GLUT3 is localized primarily on α-granule membranes and under basal conditions facilitates glucose uptake into α-granules to be used for glycolysis. After activation, platelets degranulate and GLUT3 translocates to the plasma membrane, which is responsible for activation-mediated increased glucose uptake. In vivo, loss of GLUT3 in platelets increased survival in a collagen/epinephrine model of pulmonary embolism, and in a K/BxN model of autoimmune inflammatory disease, platelet-specific GLUT3 knockout mice display decreased disease progression. Mechanistically, loss of GLUT3 decreased platelet degranulation, spreading, and clot retraction. Decreased α-granule degranulation is due in part to an impaired ability of GLUT3 to potentiate exocytosis.Conclusions—GLUT3-mediated glucose utilization and glycogenolysis in platelets promotes α-granule release, platelet activation, and postactivation functions.



Ly6Chigh Monocytes Oscillate in the Heart During Homeostasis and After Myocardial Infarction—Brief Report [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Circadian regulation of neutrophil homeostasis affects myocardial infarction (MI) healing. It is unknown whether diurnal variations of monocyte counts exist in the heart and whether this affects their cardiac infiltration in response to MI.Approach and Results—Murine blood and organs were harvested at distinct times of day and analyzed by flow cytometry. Ly6Chigh monocyte surface expression levels of chemokine receptors (CCR) were ≈2-fold higher at the beginning of the active phase, Zeitgeber Time (ZT) 13 compared with ZT5. This was because of enhanced receptor surface expression at ZT13, whereas no significant changes in total cellular protein levels were found. Most blood Ly6Chigh monocytes were CCR2high, whereas only a minority was CCR1high and CCR5high. We also found diurnal changes of classical monocyte blood counts in humans, being higher in the evening, while exhibiting enhanced CCR2 surface expression in the morning. In support of monocyte oscillations between blood and tissue, murine cardiac Ly6Chigh monocyte counts were highest at ZT13, accompanied by an upregulation of cardiac CC chemokine ligand 2 mRNA. Mice subjected to MI at ZT13 had an even higher upregulation of CCR2 surface expression on circulating monocytes compared with noninfarcted mice and more elevated cardiac CC chemokine ligand 2 protein expression and more pronounced Ly6Chigh monocyte infiltration compared with ZT5-infarcted mice. Concomitantly, CCR2 antagonism only inhibited the excessive cardiac Ly6Chigh monocyte infiltration after ZT13 MI but not ZT5 MI.Conclusions—CCR2 surface expression on Ly6Chigh monocytes changes in a time-of-day–dependent manner, which crucially affects cardiac monocyte recruitment after an acute ischemic event.



Endothelial Cell Autophagy Maintains Shear Stress-Induced Nitric Oxide Generation via Glycolysis-Dependent Purinergic Signaling to Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Impaired endothelial cell (EC) autophagy compromises shear stress–induced nitric oxide (NO) generation. We determined the responsible mechanism.Approach and Results—On autophagy compromise in bovine aortic ECs exposed to shear stress, a decrease in glucose uptake and EC glycolysis attenuated ATP production. We hypothesized that decreased glycolysis-dependent purinergic signaling via P2Y1 (P2Y purinoceptor 1) receptors, secondary to impaired autophagy in ECs, prevents shear-induced phosphorylation of eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) at its positive regulatory site S1117 (p-eNOSS1177) and NO generation. Maneuvers that restore glucose transport and glycolysis (eg, overexpression of GLUT1 [glucose transporter 1]) or purinergic signaling (eg, addition of exogenous ADP) rescue shear-induced p-eNOSS1177 and NO production in ECs with impaired autophagy. Conversely, inhibiting glucose transport via GLUT1 small interfering RNA, blocking purinergic signaling via ectonucleotidase-mediated ATP/ADP degradation (eg, apyrase), or inhibiting P2Y1 receptors using pharmacological (eg, MRS2179 [2′-deoxy-N6-methyladenosine 3′,5′-bisphosphate tetrasodium salt]) or genetic (eg, P2Y1-receptor small interfering RNA) procedures inhibit shear-induced p-eNOSS1177 and NO generation in ECs with intact autophagy. Supporting a central role for PKCδT505 (protein kinase C delta T505) in relaying the autophagy-dependent purinergic-mediated signal to eNOS, we find that (1) shear stress–induced activating phosphorylation of PKCδT505 is negated by inhibiting autophagy, (2) shear-induced p-eNOSS1177 and NO generation are restored in autophagy-impaired ECs via pharmacological (eg, bryostatin) or genetic (eg, constitutively active PKCδ) activation of PKCδT505, and (3) pharmacological (eg, rottlerin) and genetic (eg, PKCδ small interfering RNA) PKCδ inhibition prevents shear-induced p-eNOSS1177 and NO generation in ECs with intact autophagy. Key nodes of dysregulation in this pathway on autophagy compromise were revealed in human arterial ECs.Conclusions—Targeted reactivation of purinergic signaling and PKCδ has strategic potential to restore compromised NO generation in pathologies associated with suppressed EC autophagy.



mTOR (Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin) Inhibition Decreases Mechanosignaling, Collagen Accumulation, and Stiffening of the Thoracic Aorta in Elastin-Deficient Mice [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Elastin deficiency because of heterozygous loss of an ELN allele in Williams syndrome causes obstructive aortopathy characterized by medial thickening and fibrosis and consequent aortic stiffening. Previous work in Eln-null mice with a severe arterial phenotype showed that inhibition of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin), a key regulator of cell growth, lessened the aortic obstruction but did not prevent early postnatal death. We investigated the effects of mTOR inhibition in Eln-null mice partially rescued by human ELN that manifest a less severe arterial phenotype and survive long term.Approach and Results—Thoracic aortas of neonatal and juvenile mice with graded elastin deficiency exhibited increased signaling through both mTOR complex 1 and 2. Despite lower predicted wall stress, there was increased phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase, suggestive of greater integrin activation, and increased transforming growth factor-β–signaling mediators, associated with increased collagen expression. Pharmacological blockade of mTOR by rapalogs did not improve luminal stenosis but reduced mechanosignaling (in delayed fashion after mTOR complex 1 inhibition), medial collagen accumulation, and stiffening of the aorta. Rapalog administration also retarded somatic growth, however, and precipitated neonatal deaths. Complementary, less-toxic strategies to inhibit mTOR via altered growth factor and nutrient responses were not effective.Conclusions—In addition to previously demonstrated therapeutic benefits of rapalogs decreasing smooth muscle cell proliferation in the absence of elastin, we find that rapalogs also prevent aortic fibrosis and stiffening attributable to partial elastin deficiency. Our findings suggest that mTOR-sensitive perturbation of smooth muscle cell mechanosensing contributes to elastin aortopathy.



Targeted Disruption of JCAD (Junctional Protein Associated With Coronary Artery Disease)/KIAA1462, a Coronary Artery Disease-Associated Gene Product, Inhibits Angiogenic Processes In Vitro and In Vivo [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Recent genome-wide association studies newly identified the human KIAA1462 gene as a new locus for coronary artery disease. However, the function of the gene product, named JCAD (junctional protein associated with coronary artery disease), is unknown. Because JCAD is expressed at cell–cell junctions in endothelial cells, we hypothesized and tested whether JCAD regulates angiogenic processes in vitro and in vivo.Approach and Results—Cell culture experiments revealed impaired angiogenic ability (proliferation, migration, and cord formation) by the knockdown of JCAD with siRNA (P<0.05 versus control siRNA). We have generated mice lacking JCAD (mKIAA1462−/−) by gene-targeted deletion of JCAD to address in vivo angiogenic function. mKIAA1462−/− mice did not show morphological differences in development of retinal vasculature. Ex vivo aortic ring model demonstrated impaired neovascularization in aorta from mKIAA1462−/− mice than control wild-type mice (P<0.05). Tumor growth was assessed by monitoring tumor volume after the subcutaneous injection of melanoma, LLC (Lewis lung carcinoma), and E0771 cells into the mice. mKIAA1462−/− mice exhibited significantly smaller tumor volume compared with wild-type mice (P<0.001). Histological assessment of the tumor exhibited less smooth muscle actin–positive neovascularization determined by CD31-positive vascular structure in tumor of mKIAA1462−/− mice than wild-type mice, indicating that knockdown of JCAD inhibited the vascular maturation in pathological angiogenic process.Conclusions—These in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that JCAD has a redundant functional role in physiological angiogenesis but serves a pivotal role in pathological angiogenic process after birth.



BRG1 (Brahma-Related Gene 1) Promotes Endothelial Mrtf Transcription to Establish Embryonic Capillary Integrity [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—The chromatin remodeling enzyme BRG1 (brahma-related gene 1) transcriptionally regulates target genes important for early blood vessel development and primitive hematopoiesis. However, because Brg1 deletion in vascular progenitor cells results in lethal anemia by embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5), roles for BRG1 in embryonic vascular development after midgestation are unknown. In this study, we sought to determine whether endothelial cell BRG1 regulates genes important for vascular development or maintenance later in embryonic development.Approach and Results—Using mice with temporally inducible deletion of endothelial BRG1 (Brg1fl/fl;Cdh5(PAC)-CreERT2), we found that Brg1 excision between E9.5 and 11.5 results in capillary dilation and lethal hemorrhage by E14.5. This phenotype strongly resembles that seen when the SRF (serum response factor) transcription factor is deleted from embryonic endothelial cells. Although expression of Srf and several of its known endothelial cell target genes are downregulated in BRG1-depleted endothelial cells, we did not detect binding of BRG1 at these gene promoters, indicating that they are not direct BRG1 target genes. Instead, we found that BRG1 binds to the promoters of the SRF cofactors Mrtfa and Mrtfb (myocardin-related transcription factors A and B) in endothelial cells, and these genes are downregulated in Brg1-deficient endothelial cells.Conclusions—BRG1 promotes transcription of endothelial Mrtfa and Mrtfb, which elevates expression of SRF and SRF target genes that establish embryonic capillary integrity. These data highlight a new and temporally specific role for BRG1 in embryonic vasculature and provide novel information about epigenetic regulation of Mrtf expression and SRF signaling in developing blood vessels.



Selective Deletion of Leptin Signaling in Endothelial Cells Enhances Neointima Formation and Phenocopies the Vascular Effects of Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Obesity is associated with elevated circulating leptin levels and hypothalamic leptin resistance. Leptin receptors (LepRs) are expressed on endothelial cells, and leptin promotes neointima formation in a receptor-dependent manner. Our aim was to examine the importance of endothelial LepR (End.LepR) signaling during vascular remodeling and to determine whether the cardiovascular consequences of obesity are because of hyperleptinemia or endothelial leptin resistance.Approach and Results—Mice with loxP-flanked LepR alleles were mated with mice expressing Cre recombinase controlled by the inducible endothelial receptor tyrosine kinase promoter. Obesity was induced with high-fat diet. Neointima formation was examined after chemical carotid artery injury. Morphometric quantification revealed significantly greater intimal hyperplasia, neointimal cellularity, and proliferation in End.LepR knockout mice, and similar findings were obtained in obese, hyperleptinemic End.LepR wild-type animals. Analysis of primary endothelial cells confirmed abrogated signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 phosphorylation in response to leptin in LepR knockout and obese LepR wild-type mice. Quantitative PCR, ELISA, and immunofluorescence analyses revealed increased expression and release of endothelin-1 in End.LepR-deficient and LepR-resistant cells, and ET receptor A/B antagonists abrogated their paracrine effects on murine aortic smooth muscle cell proliferation. Reduced expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and increased nuclear activator protein-1 staining was observed in End.LepR-deficient and LepR-resistant cells, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ antagonization increased endothelial endothelin-1 expression.Conclusions—Our findings suggest that intact endothelial leptin signaling limits neointima formation and that obesity represents a state of endothelial leptin resistance. These observations and the identification of endothelin-1 as soluble mediator of the cardiovascular risk factor obesity may have relevant therapeutic implications.



CYLD Deubiquitinates Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate Oxidase 4 Contributing to Adventitial Remodeling [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Transdifferentiation of adventitial fibroblasts (AFs) into myofibroblasts plays a critical role during the vascular remodeling that occurs during atherosclerosis, restenosis, and aortic aneurysm. The ubiquitination/deubiquitination regulatory system is essential for the quality control of proteins. The involvement of ubiquitination/deubiquitination during AF transdifferentiation remains largely unknown. In this study, we determined the role of cylindromatosis (CYLD), a deubiquitinase, in the process of AF differentiation and activation in vitro and in vivo.Approach and Results—Transforming growth factor-β1 and homocysteine, 2 known inducers of AF transdifferentiation, greatly upregulated CYLD expression in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The silencing of CYLD significantly inhibited AF transdifferentiation and activation as evidenced by the expression of contractile proteins, the production of the proinflammatory cytokines MCP-1 (monocyte chemotactic protein 1) and IL-6 (interleukin-6), the deposition of extracellular matrix, and cell migration. We further asked whether CYLD mediates AF activation via the regulation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase 4 (Nox4) as it is an essential factor during AF transdifferentiation. Indeed, the silencing of CYLD repressed transforming growth factor-β1–induced and homocysteine-induced Nox4 upregulation and reactive oxygen species production, whereas Nox4 overexpression greatly rescued the inhibitory effect on AF activation by CYLD silencing. Most interestingly, transforming growth factor-β1 and homocysteine repressed Nox4 ubiquitination and prolonged the half-life of Nox4. Moreover, Nox4 was deubiquitinated via a direct interaction with the ubiquitin-specific protease domain of CYLD. In accordance, hyperhomocysteinemia significantly increased adventitial CYLD and Nox4 expression, promoted AF transdifferentiation, and aggravated CaPO4-induced abdominal aortic aneurysm in mice. These effects were abolished in CYLD−/− mice.Conclusions—CYLD contributes to the transdifferentiation of AFs via deubiquitinating Nox4 and may play a role in vascular remodeling.



Sema3F (Semaphorin 3F) Selectively Drives an Extraembryonic Proangiogenic Program [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Molecular pathways governing blood vessel patterning are vital to vertebrate development. Because of their ability to counteract proangiogenic factors, antiangiogenic secreted Sema3 (class 3 semaphorins) control embryonic vascular morphogenesis. However, if and how Sema3 may play a role in the control of extraembryonic vascular development is presently unknown.Approach and Results—By characterizing genetically modified mice, here, we show that surprisingly Sema3F acts instead as a selective extraembryonic, but not intraembryonic proangiogenic cue. Both in vivo and in vitro, in visceral yolk sac epithelial cells, Sema3F signals to inhibit the phosphorylation-dependent degradation of Myc, a transcription factor that drives the expression of proangiogenic genes, such as the microRNA cluster 17/92. In Sema3f-null yolk sacs, the transcription of Myc-regulated microRNA 17/92 cluster members is impaired, and the synthesis of Myc and microRNA 17/92 foremost antiangiogenic target Thbs1 (thrombospondin 1) is increased, whereas Vegf (vascular endothelial growth factor) signaling is inhibited in yolk sac endothelial cells. Consistently, exogenous recombinant Sema3F inhibits the phosphorylation-dependent degradation of Myc and the synthesis of Thbs1 in mouse F9 teratocarcinoma stem cells that were in vitro differentiated in visceral yolk sac epithelial cells. Sema3f−/− mice placentas are also highly anemic and abnormally vascularized.Conclusions—Sema3F functions as an unconventional Sema3 that promotes extraembryonic angiogenesis by inhibiting the Myc-regulated synthesis of Thbs1 in visceral yolk sac epithelial cells.



Smooth Muscle Cells Derived From Second Heart Field and Cardiac Neural Crest Reside in Spatially Distinct Domains in the Media of the Ascending Aorta—Brief Report [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) of the proximal thoracic aorta are embryonically derived from the second heart field (SHF) and cardiac neural crest (CNC). However, distributions of these embryonic origins are not fully defined. The regional distribution of SMCs of different origins is speculated to cause region-specific aortopathies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the distribution of SMCs of SHF and CNC origins in the proximal thoracic aorta.Approach and Results—Mice with repressed LacZ in the ROSA26 locus were bred to those expressing Cre controlled by either the Wnt1 or Mef2c (myocyte-specific enhancer factor 2c) promoter to trace CNC- and SHF-derived SMCs, respectively. Thoracic aortas were harvested, and activity of β-galactosidase was determined. Aortas from Wnt1-Cre mice had β-galactosidase–positive areas throughout the region from the proximal ascending aorta to just distal of the subclavian arterial branch. Unexpectedly, β-galactosidase–positive areas in Mef2c-Cre mice extended from the aortic root throughout the ascending aorta. This distribution occurred independent of sex and aging. Cross and sagittal aortic sections demonstrated that CNC-derived cells populated the inner medial aspect of the anterior region of the ascending aorta and transmurally in the media of the posterior region. Interestingly, outer medial cells throughout anterior and posterior ascending aortas were derived from the SHF. β-Galactosidase–positive medial cells of both origins colocalized with an SMC marker, α-actin.Conclusions—Both CNC- and SHF-derived SMCs populate the media throughout the ascending aorta. The outer medial cells of the ascending aorta form a sleeve populated by SHF-derived SMCs.



Sox10+ Cells Contribute to Vascular Development in Multiple Organs—Brief Report [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Previous genetic lineage tracing studies showed that Sox10+ cells differentiate into vascular mural cells, limited to neural crest–derived blood vessels in craniofacial tissues, aortic arch, pulmonary arch arteries, brachiocephalic, carotid arteries, and thymus. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of Sox10+ cells to the vascular development in other tissues and organs and their relationship with neural crest.Approach and Results—Using genetic lineage tracing technique based on Cre/LoxP system, we examined blood vessels in the adult organs of the mice expressing Sox10-Cre/Rosa-LoxP-red fluorescent protein or Wnt1-Cre/Rosa-LoxP-red fluorescent protein by immunohistological analysis. In addition to previously reported tissues and organs derived from neural crest, we showed that Sox10+ cells also contributed to vascular mural cells in the lung, spleen, and kidney, which are derived from non-neural crest origin as evidenced by red fluorescent protein-negative blood vessels in these 3 organs of Wnt1-Cre/Rosa-LoxP-red fluorescent protein mice.Conclusions—This study demonstrates that Sox10+ cells contribute to pericytes and smooth muscle cells in most parts of the body, including those from neural crest and non-neural crest, which has significant implications in vascular remodeling under physiological and pathological conditions.



Dachsous1-Fat4 Signaling Controls Endothelial Cell Polarization During Lymphatic Valve Morphogenesis—Brief Report [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of Fat4 and Dachsous1 signaling in the lymphatic vasculature.Approach and Results—Phenotypic analysis of the lymphatic vasculature was performed in mice lacking functional Fat4 or Dachsous1. The overall architecture of lymphatic vasculature is unaltered, yet both genes are specifically required for lymphatic valve morphogenesis. Valve endothelial cells (Prox1high [prospero homeobox protein 1] cells) are disoriented and failed to form proper valve leaflets. Using Lifeact-GFP (green fluorescent protein) mice, we revealed that valve endothelial cells display prominent actin polymerization. Finally, we showed the polarized recruitment of Dachsous1 to membrane protrusions and cellular junctions of valve endothelial cells in vivo and in vitro.Conclusions—Our data demonstrate that Fat4 and Dachsous1 are critical regulators of valve morphogenesis. This study highlights that valve defects may contribute to lymphedema in Hennekam syndrome caused by Fat4 mutations.



A Novel Single-Domain Antibody Against von Willebrand Factor A1 Domain Resolves Leukocyte Recruitment and Vascular Leakage During Inflammation—Brief Report [Basic Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—von Willebrand factor (VWF) is crucial to hemostasis, but also plays a role in inflammatory processes. Unfortunately, no proper monoclonal antibodies to study VWF function in mice are currently available. We therefore aimed to generate single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) recognizing murine VWF and blocking its function in vivo.Approach and Results—Llama-derived sdAbs recognizing both human and murine VWF were isolated via phage display technology. One of them (designated KB-VWF-006) recognized the VWF A1 domain with picomolar affinity. This sdAb avidity was strongly enhanced via dimerization using a triple Ala linker (KB-VWF-006bi). When administered in vivo to wild-type mice, KB-VWF-006bi dose dependently induced bleeding in a tail clip model. In 2 distinct models of inflammation, KB-VWF-006bi efficiently interfered with leukocyte recruitment and vascular leakage.Conclusions—KB-VWF-006bi is an sdAb recognizing the A1 domain of human VWF and murine VWF that interferes with VWF–platelet interactions in vivo. By using this sdAb, we now also show that the A1 domain is pertinent to the participation of VWF in the inflammatory response.



In Vivo Base Editing of PCSK9 (Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 9) as a Therapeutic Alternative to Genome Editing [Translational Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—High-efficiency genome editing to disrupt therapeutic target genes, such as PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9), has been demonstrated in preclinical animal models, but there are safety concerns because of the unpredictable nature of cellular repair of double-strand breaks, as well as off-target mutagenesis. Moreover, precise knock-in of specific nucleotide changes—whether to introduce or to correct gene mutations—has proven to be inefficient in nonproliferating cells in vivo. Base editors comprising CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats [CRISPR]-CRISPR-associated 9) fused to a cytosine deaminase domain can effect the alteration of cytosine bases to thymine bases in genomic DNA in a sequence-specific fashion, without the need for double-strand DNA breaks. The efficacy of base editing has not been established in vivo. The goal of this study was to assess whether in vivo base editing could be used to modify the mouse Pcsk9 gene in a sequence-specific fashion in the liver in adult mice.Approach and Results—We screened base editors for activity in cultured cells, including human-induced pluripotent stem cells. We then delivered a base editor into the livers of adult mice to assess whether it could introduce site-specific nonsense mutations into the Pcsk9 gene. In adult mice, this resulted in substantially reduced plasma PCSK9 protein levels (>50%), as well as reduced plasma cholesterol levels (≈30%). There was no evidence of off-target mutagenesis, either cytosine-to-thymine edits or indels.Conclusions—These results demonstrate the ability to precisely introduce therapeutically relevant nucleotide variants into the genome in somatic tissues in adult mammals, as well as highlighting a potentially safer alternative to therapeutic genome editing.



Expression of ADAMTS13 in Normal and Abnormal Placentae and Its Potential Role in Angiogenesis and Placenta Development [Translational Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type 1 repeats, member 13) is primarily synthesized in liver. The biosynthesis of ADAMTS13 and its physiological role in placenta are not known.Approach and Results—We used real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting analyses, as well as proteolytic cleavage of FRETS (fluorescent resonance energy transfers)-VWF73, to determine ADAMTS13 expression in placenta and trophoblasts obtained from individuals with normal pregnancy and patients with severe preeclampsia. We also determined the role of ADAMTS13 in extravillous trophoblasts using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, wound scratch assay, transwell migration assay, tube formation assay, and tissue outgrowth assays. We showed that full-length and proteolytically active ADAMTS13 was expressed in normal human placenta, primarily in the trophoblasts and villous core fetal vessel endothelium during pregnancy. Placental expression of ADAMTS13 mRNA, protein, and proteolytic activity was at the highest levels during the first trimester and significantly reduced at the term of gestation. Additionally, significantly reduced levels of placental ADAMTS13 expression was detected under hypoxic conditions and in patients with preeclampsia. In addition, recombinant ADAMTS13 protease stimulated proliferation, migration, invasion, and network formation of trophoblastic cells in culture. Finally, knockdown of ADAMTS13 expression attenuated the ability of tube formation in trophoblast (HTR-8/SVNEO) cells and the extravillous trophoblast outgrowth in placental explants.Conclusions—Our results demonstrate for the first time the expression of ADAMTS13 mRNA and protein in normal and abnormal placental tissues and its role in promoting angiogenesis and trophoblastic cell development. The findings support the potential role of the ADAMTS13–von Willebrand factor pathway in normal pregnancy and pathogenesis of preeclampsia.



Association of Coronary Perivascular Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Drug-Eluting Stent-Induced Coronary Hyperconstricting Responses in Pigs [Translational Sciences]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Although coronary perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) may play important roles as a source of inflammation, the association of coronary PVAT inflammation and coronary hyperconstricting responses remains to be examined. We addressed this important issue in a porcine model of coronary hyperconstricting responses after drug-eluting stent implantation with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomographic imaging.Approach and Results—An everolimus-eluting stent (EES) was randomly implanted in pigs into the left anterior descending or the left circumflex coronary artery while nonstented coronary artery was used as a control. After 1 month, coronary vasoconstricting responses to intracoronary serotonin (10 and 100 μg/kg) were examined by coronary angiography in vivo, followed by in vivo and ex vivo 18F-FDG positron emission tomographic/computed tomographic imaging. Coronary vasoconstricting responses to serotonin were significantly enhanced at the EES edges compared with the control site (P<0.01; n=40). Notably, in vivo and ex vivo 18F-FDG positron emission tomographic/computed tomographic imaging and autoradiography showed enhanced 18F-FDG uptake and its accumulation in PVAT at the EES edges compared with the control site, respectively (both P<0.05). Furthermore, histological and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that inflammatory changes of coronary PVAT were significantly enhanced at the EES edges compared with the control site (all P<0.01). Importantly, Rho-kinase expressions (ROCK1/ROCK2) and Rho-kinase activity (phosphorylated myosin phosphatase target subunit-1) at the EES edges were significantly enhanced compared with the control site.Conclusions—These results indicate for the first time that inflammatory changes of coronary PVAT are associated with drug-eluting stent–induced coronary hyperconstricting responses in pigs in vivo and that 18F-FDG positron emission tomographic imaging is useful for assessment of coronary PVAT inflammation.



APOL1 Risk Variants and Cardiovascular Disease [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Among African Americans, the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) risk variants have been associated with various types of kidney disease and chronic kidney disease progression. We aimed to determine whether these same risk variants also confer an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.Approach and Results—In a cohort of African Americans with hypertension-attributed chronic kidney disease followed for up to 12 years, we used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the relative hazard of a composite cardiovascular disease outcome (cardiovascular death or hospitalization for myocardial infarction, cardiac revascularization procedure, heart failure, or stroke) for the APOL1 high- (2 risk variants) versus low-risk (0–1 risk variant) genotypes. We adjusted for age, sex, ancestry, smoking, heart disease history, body mass index, cholesterol, randomized treatment groups, and baseline and longitudinal estimated glomerular filtration rate, systolic blood pressure, and proteinuria. Among 693 participants with APOL1 genotyping available (23% high risk), the high-risk group had lower mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (44.7 versus 50.1 mL/min per 1.73 m2) and greater proteinuria (median 0.19 versus 0.06) compared with the low-risk group at baseline. There was no significant association between APOL1 genotypes and the composite cardiovascular disease outcome in both unadjusted (hazard ratio=1.23; 95% confidence interval: 0.83–1.81) and fully adjusted (hazard ratio=1.16; 95% confidence interval: 0.77–1.76) models; however, in using an additive model, APOL1 high-risk variants were associated with increased cardiovascular mortality.Conclusions—Among African Americans with hypertension-attributed chronic kidney disease, APOL1 risk variants were not associated with an overall risk for cardiovascular disease although some signals for cardiovascular mortality were noted.



CETP (Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein) Inhibition With Anacetrapib Decreases Production of Lipoprotein(a) in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Subjects [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Lp(a) [lipoprotein (a)] is composed of apoB (apolipoprotein B) and apo(a) [apolipoprotein (a)] and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and aortic stenosis. In clinical trials, anacetrapib, a CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein) inhibitor, causes significant reductions in plasma Lp(a) levels. We conducted an exploratory study to examine the mechanism for Lp(a) lowering by anacetrapib.Approach and Results—We enrolled 39 participants in a fixed-sequence, double-blind study of the effects of anacetrapib on the metabolism of apoB and high-density lipoproteins. Twenty-nine patients were randomized to atorvastatin 20 mg/d, plus placebo for 4 weeks, and then atorvastatin plus anacetrapib (100 mg/d) for 8 weeks. The other 10 subjects were randomized to double placebo for 4 weeks followed by placebo plus anacetrapib for 8 weeks. We examined the mechanisms of Lp(a) lowering in a subset of 12 subjects having both Lp(a) levels >20 nmol/L and more than a 15% reduction in Lp(a) by the end of anacetrapib treatment. We performed stable isotope kinetic studies using 2H3-leucine at the end of each treatment to measure apo(a) fractional catabolic rate and production rate. Median baseline Lp(a) levels were 21.5 nmol/L (interquartile range, 9.9–108.1 nmol/L) in the complete cohort (39 subjects) and 52.9 nmol/L (interquartile range, 38.4–121.3 nmol/L) in the subset selected for kinetic studies. Anacetrapib treatment lowered Lp(a) by 34.1% (P≤0.001) and 39.6% in the complete and subset cohort, respectively. The decreases in Lp(a) levels were because of a 41% reduction in the apo(a) production rate, with no effects on apo(a) fractional catabolic rate.Conclusions—Anacetrapib reduces Lp(a) levels by decreasing its production.Clinical Trial Registration—URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00990808.



Effects of Intranasal Insulin on Triglyceride-Rich Lipoprotein Particle Production in Healthy Men [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Insulin administered directly into the brain acutely suppresses hepatic glucose production and triglyceride-rich lipoprotein (TRL) secretion in rodents. In addition, intranasally administered insulin, which selectively raises cerebrospinal fluid insulin concentration, suppresses hepatic glucose production in humans; however, its effect on TRL secretion in humans has not previously been examined. In this study, we examined whether intranasal insulin, administered at a dose that has previously been shown to suppress hepatic glucose production, modulates TRL particle secretion by the liver and intestine in humans.Approach and Results—Nine healthy, normolipidemic, and normoglycemic men participated in a study consisting of 2 randomized study arms. Subjects received intranasal lispro insulin (40 IU) or placebo. Because intranasal insulin results in a rapid and transient increase in systemic insulin concentration after administration, we matched systemic insulin concentrations in the 2 study arms by infusing lispro insulin intravenously for 30 minutes together with intranasal placebo administration. Apo (apolipoprotein) B100–containing (hepatically derived) and apoB48-containing (intestinally derived) TRL lipoprotein particle turnover were measured for the ensuing 10 hours under pancreatic clamp conditions and constant fed state, using stable isotope enrichment techniques and multicompartmental modeling. Under these experimental conditions, no significant effects of intranasal insulin versus placebo on TRL apoB100 or B48 concentrations, fractional catabolic rates, or production rates were observed.Conclusions—Insulin delivered intranasally at a dose that has been shown to raise cerebrospinal fluid insulin concentration and suppress hepatic glucose production does not affect TRL particle production by the liver and intestine in healthy men.Clinical Trial Registration—URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT03141827.



Subcutaneous Adipocyte Lipolysis Contributes to Circulating Lipid Levels [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Fatty acids released via fat cell lipolysis can affect circulating lipid levels. However, the contribution of different lipolysis measures in adipose tissue is unknown and was presently examined in isolated subcutaneous adipocytes.Approach and Results—One thousand and sixty-six men and women were examined for lipolysis regulation in subcutaneous abdominal fat cells. Results were compared with fasting plasma levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides. Spontaneous (basal) lipolysis and the effects of the major hormones stimulating (catecholamines and natriuretic peptides) and inhibiting lipolysis (insulin) were examined. Several statistically significant (P<0.0001) correlations between the different lipolysis parameters and plasma lipids were observed. However, physiologically relevant correlations (adjusted r2≥0.05) were only evident between basal or insulin-inhibited lipolysis and plasma triglycerides or HDL-C. Together, these lipolysis measures explained 14% of the variation in triglycerides or HDL-C, respectively. In comparison, a combination of established factors associated with variations in plasma lipids, that is, age; body mass index; waist circumference; waist-to-hip ratio; sex; nicotine use; fat cell volume; and pharmacotherapy against diabetes mellitus; hypertension; or hyperlipidemia explained 17% and 28%, respectively, of the variations in plasma triglycerides and HDL-C.Conclusions—Subcutaneous fat cell lipolysis is an important independent contributor to interindividual variations in plasma lipids. High spontaneous lipolysis activity and resistance to the antilipolytic effect of insulin associate with elevated triglyceride and low HDL-C concentrations. Thus, although several other factors also play a role, subcutaneous adipose tissue may have a causal influence on dyslipidemia.



The Effect of Iron Status on Risk of Coronary Artery Disease [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—Iron status is a modifiable trait that has been implicated in cardiovascular disease. This study uses the Mendelian randomization technique to investigate whether there is any causal effect of iron status on risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).Approach and Results—A 2-sample Mendelian randomization approach is used to estimate the effect of iron status on CAD risk. Three loci (rs1800562 and rs1799945 in the HFE gene and rs855791 in TMPRSS6) that are each associated with serum iron, transferrin saturation, ferritin, and transferrin in a pattern suggestive of an association with systemic iron status are used as instruments. SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism)-iron status association estimates are based on a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 48 972 individuals. SNP-CAD estimates are derived by combining the results of a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 60 801 CAD cases and 123 504 controls with those of a meta-analysis of 63 746 CAD cases and 130 681 controls obtained from Metabochip and genome-wide association studies. Combined Mendelian randomization estimates are obtained for each marker by pooling results across the 3 instruments. We find evidence of a protective effect of higher iron status on CAD risk (iron odds ratio, 0.94 per SD unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 0.88–1.00; P=0.039; transferrin saturation odds ratio, 0.95 per SD unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 0.91–0.99; P=0.027; log-transformed ferritin odds ratio, 0.85 per SD unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 0.73–0.98; P=0.024; and transferrin odds ratio, 1.08 per SD unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.16; P=0.034).Conclusions—This Mendelian randomization study supports the hypothesis that higher iron status reduces CAD risk. These findings may highlight a therapeutic target.



Short-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-08-23T12:44:27-07:00

Objective—The objective of this study is to examine associations between short-term exposure to ambient air pollution and circulating biomarkers of systemic inflammation in participants from the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation cohorts in the greater Boston area.Approach and Results—We included 3996 noncurrent smoking participants (mean age, 53.6 years; 54% women) who lived within 50 km from a central air pollution monitoring site in Boston, MA, and calculated the 1- to 7-day moving averages of fine particulate matter (diameter<2.5 µm), black carbon, sulfate, nitrogen oxides, and ozone before the examination visits. We used linear mixed effects models for C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2, which were measured up to twice for each participant; we used linear regression models for interleukin-6, fibrinogen, and tumor necrosis factor α, which were measured once. We adjusted for demographics, socioeconomic position, lifestyle, time, and weather. The 3- to 7-day moving averages of fine particulate matter (diameter<2.5 µm) and sulfate were positively associated with C-reactive protein concentrations. A 5 µg/m3 higher 5-day moving average fine particulate matter (diameter<2.5 µm) was associated with 4.2% (95% confidence interval: 0.8, 7.6) higher circulating C-reactive protein. Positive associations were also observed for nitrogen oxides with interleukin-6 and for black carbon, sulfate, and ozone with tumor necrosis factor receptor 2. However, black carbon, sulfate, and nitrogen oxides were negatively associated with fibrinogen, and sulfate was negatively associated with tumor necrosis factor α.Conclusions—Higher short-term exposure to relatively low levels of ambient air pollution was associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 but not fibrinogen or tumor necrosis factor α in individuals residing in the greater Boston area.