WIN55212-2 ameliorates atherosclerosis associated with suppression of pro-inflammatory responses in ApoE-knockout mice.
ABSTRACT The role of inflammation in all stages of atherosclerosis has been actively investigated, with an emphasis on the discovery of novel and innovative drugs for treatment and prevention. The anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory capacity of cannabinoids are well established, and these agents have a broad therapeutic potential in various inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of WIN55212-2, a synthetic cannabinoid, on atherosclerosis using the apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mouse on a cholate-containing high-fat diet. Our results showed that WIN55212-2 reduced the size of atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta root, and did not affect serum lipid levels significantly. Furthermore, alleviation of atherosclerosis by WIN55212-2 was associated with a smaller content of macrophages in plaque lesion as well as decreasing pro-inflammatory gene expression and NF-κB activation in aortic tissues. Oxidized LDL (ox-LDL) dramatically induced NF-κB activation, and enhanced pro-inflammatory mRNA and protein expression in peritoneal macrophages isolated from ApoE(-/-) mice. It is noteworthy that all of the above-mentioned effects of ox-LDL were attenuated by WIN55212-2. Moreover, WIN55212-2 also attenuated the inflammatory response that LPS induced. AM630, a cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB₂) special antagonist completely abolished the protective effects of WIN55212-2 both in vivo and in vitro. Our data provide strong evidence that WIN55212-2 can potentially inhibit atherosclerosis in ApoE(-/-) mice. Importantly, all the beneficial effects of WIN55212-2 in our model were closely associated with the suppression of pro-inflammatory responses and were mediated by the CB₂ receptor.
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ABSTRACT: Cannabinoid receptor CB(2) activation inhibits inflammatory proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro. The potential in vivo relevance of these findings is unclear. We performed carotid balloon distension injury in hypercholesterolemic apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mice receiving daily intraperitoneal injection of the CB(2) agonist JWH133 (5 mg/kg) or vehicle, with the first injection given 30 min before injury. Alternatively, we subjected CB(2)(-/-) and wild-type (WT) mice to balloon injury. We determined CB(2) mRNA and protein expression in dilated arteries of ApoE(-/-) mice. Neointima formation was assessed histologically. We used bone marrow-derived murine CB(2)(-/-) and WT macrophages to study adhesion to plastic, fibronectin, or collagen, and migration was assayed by modified Boyden chamber. Aortic smooth muscle cells were isolated to determine in vitro proliferation rates. We found increased vascular CB(2) expression in ApoE(-/-) mice in response to balloon injury. Seven to twenty-one days after dilatation, injured vessels of JWH133-treated mice had less intimal nuclei numbers as well as intimal and medial areas, associated with less staining for proliferating cells, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages. Complete endothelial repair was observed after 14 days in both JWH133- and vehicle-treated mice. CB(2) deficiency resulted in increased intima formation compared with WT, whereas JWH133 did not affect intimal formation in CB(2)(-/-) mice. Apoptosis rates assessed by in situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick-end labeling staining 1 h postballooning were significantly higher in the CB(2) knockouts. In vitro, bone marrow-derived CB(2)(-/-) macrophages showed enhanced adherence and migration compared with WT cells and elevated mRNA levels of adhesion molecules, chemokine receptors CCR1 and 5, and chemokine CCL2. Proliferation rates were significantly increased in CB(2)(-/-) smooth muscle cells compared with WT. In conclusion, pharmacological activation or genetic deletion of CB(2) receptors modulate neointima formation via protective effects in macrophages and smooth muscle cells.AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 03/2012; 302(5):H1064-74. · 3.71 Impact Factor