A functional polymorphism in the chemokine receptor CX3CR1 is associated with protection from vascular diseases including coronary artery disease and internal carotid artery occlusive disease. We investigated the mechanisms by which CX3CR1 may be involved by evaluating the inflammatory response to arterial injury in CX3CR1-deficient animals.
Femoral arteries of CX3CR1-/- and wild-type (WT) mice were injured with an angioplasty guide wire. After 1, 5, 14, and 28 days, arteries were harvested and evaluated by histology, morphometry, and immunohistochemistry. Arterial injury upregulated the CX3CR1 ligand CX3CL1. In CX3CR1-/- compared with WT animals, the incidence of neointima formation was 58% lower (P=0.0017), accompanied by no difference in the area of platelet accumulation at day 1 (P=0.48) but a significant decrease in intimal monocyte infiltration at day 5 (P=0.006), vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation at days 5 and 14, and intimal area at day 28 (P=0.009).
In an endothelial denudation injury model, CX3CR1 deficiency protects animals from developing intimal hyperplasia as a result of decreased monocyte trafficking to the lesion. CX3CR1 deficiency decreases VSMC proliferation and intimal accumulation either directly or indirectly as a result of defective monocyte infiltration.
"CCR2 is expressed on the majority of blood monocytes, other leukocytes, and a subset of T cells, mainly responding to directed cell migration toward its primary ligand MCP1 . In addition, CCR2-deficient animals ex decreased susceptibility to atherosclerosis and decreased intimal hyperplasia following arterial injury –. Similarly, CX3CR1 is expressed on monocytes, natural killer cells, a subset of T cells, and SMCs –. Its ligand CX3CL1, a membrane-bound chemokine, is increased in atherosclerosis . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well documented that statins protect atherosclerotic patients from inflammatory changes and plaque instability in coronary arteries. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Using a previously established mouse model for vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, we investigated the effect of atorvastatin (10 mg/kg/day) on plaque morphology. Atorvastatin did not lower plasma total cholesterol levels or affect plaque progression at this dosage; however, vulnerable plaque numbers were significantly reduced in the atorvastatin-treated group compared to control. Detailed examinations revealed that atorvastatin significantly decreased macrophage infiltration and subendothelial lipid deposition, reduced intimal collagen content, and elevated collagenase activity and expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Because vascular inflammation is largely driven by changes in monocyte/macrophage numbers in the vessel wall, we speculated that the anti-inflammatory effect of atorvastatin may partially result from decreased monocyte recruitment to the endothelium. Further experiments showed that atorvastatin downregulated expression of the chemokines monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, chemokine (C-X3-C motif) ligand 1 (CX3CL1) and their receptors CCR2 and, CX3CR1, which are mainly responsible for monocyte recruitment. In addition, levels of the plasma inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were also significantly decrease in atorvastatin-treated mice. Collectively, our results demonstrate that atorvastatin can improve plaque stability in mice independent of plasma cholesterol levels. Given the profound inhibition of macrophage infiltration into atherosclerotic plaques, we propose that statins may partly exert protective effects by modulating levels of chemokines and their receptors. These findings elucidate yet another atheroprotective mechanism of statins.
PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e97009. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0097009 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"We have previously identified a CX3CR1 monocyte subpopulation capable of phagocytic functions typical of classical MPS as well as mural vascular smooth muscle cell-like functions that occur subsequent to CX3CL1-CX3CR1 interaction in the injured vessel wall , . Interference with CX3CL1-CX3CR1 interaction was also observed to decrease neointima formation and atherosclerosis in murine animal models , , , thus implicating the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 axis in atherosclerotic plaque development. Moreover polymorphisms in CX3CR1 receptors have been associated with variability in prevalence of human atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monocyte/Macrophages are implicated in initiation of angiogenesis, tissue/organ perfusion and atherosclerosis biology. We recently showed that chemokine receptor CX(3)CR1 is an essential regulator of monocyte/macrophage derived smooth muscle cell differentiation in the vessel wall after injury. Here we hypothesised the contribution of CX(3)CR1- CX(3)CL1 interaction to in vivo neovascularization and studied the functional consequences of genetic and pharmacologic targeting of CX(3)CR1 in formation, maturation and maintenance of microvascular integrity. Cells functionally deficient in CX(3)CR1 lacked matrix tunnelling and tubulation capacity in a 3D Matrigel assay. These morphogenic and cytokinetic responses were driven by CX(3)CL1-CX(3)CR1 interaction and totally abrogated by a Rho antagonist. To evaluate the role of CX(3)CR1 system in vivo, Matrigel plugs were implanted in competent CX(3)CR1(+/gfp) and functionally deficient CX(3)CR1(gfp/gfp) mice. Leaky microvessels (MV) were formed in the Matrigel implanted in CX(3)CR1(gfp/gfp) but not in CX(3)CR1(+/gfp) mice. In experimental plaque neovascularization immature MV phenotype was observed in CX(3)CR1(gfp/gfp) mice, lacking CX(3)CR1 positive smooth muscle-like cells, extracellular collagen and basement membrane (BM) laminin compared to competent CX(3)CR1(+/gfp) mice. This was associated with increased extravasation of platelets into the intima of CX(3)CR1(gfp/gfp) but not functionally competent CX(3)CR1 mice. Pharmacologic targeting using CX(3)CR1 receptor antagonist in wild type mice resulted in formation of plaque MV with poor BM coverage and a leaky phenotype. Our data indicate a hitherto unrecognised role for functional CX(3)CR1 in Matrigel and experimental plaque neovascularization in vivo, which may buttress MV collectively in favour of a more stable non-leaky phenotype.
PLoS ONE 02/2013; 8(2):e57230. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0057230 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Furthermore, three distinct chemokine / chemokine receptor pairs (MCP-1 / CCR2, RANTES / CCR5, and Fractalkine / CX3CR1) have been shown to direct lesional leukocyte infiltration. In addition, MCP-1 / CCR2 and Fractalkine / CX3CR1 increase expansion of neointimal SM-like cells. Thus, to ultimately pharmacologically modulate the maladaptative responses in arterial remodeling, it will be essential to identify specific chemokine / chemokine receptor pairs that play specific roles in the remodeling process. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by cellular and structural changes in the walls of pulmonary arteries. Intimal thickening and fibrosis, medial hypertrophy and fibroproliferative changes in the adventitia are commonly observed, as is the extension of smooth muscle into the previously non-muscularized vessels. A majority of these changes are associated with the enhanced presence of α-SM-actin+ cells and inflammatory cells. Atypical abundances of functionally distinct endothelial cells, particularly in the intima (plexiform lesions), and also in the perivascular regions, are also described. At present, neither the origin(s) of these cells nor the molecular mechanisms responsible for their accumulation, in any of the three compartments of the vessel wall, have been fully elucidated. The possibility that they arise from either resident vascular progenitors or bone marrow-derived progenitor cells is now well established. Resident vascular progenitor cells have been demonstrated to exist within the vessel wall, and in response to certain stimuli, to expand and express myofibroblastic, endothelial or even hematopoietic markers. Bone marrow-derived or circulating progenitor cells have also been shown to be recruited to sites of vascular injury and to assume both endothelial and SM-like phenotypes. Here, we review the data supporting the contributory role of vascular progenitors (including endothelial progenitor cells, smooth muscle progenitor cells, pericytes, and fibrocytes) in vascular remodeling. A more complete understanding of the processes by which progenitor cells modulate pulmonary vascular remodeling will undoubtedly herald a renaissance of therapies extending beyond the control of vascular tonicity and reduction of pulmonary artery pressure.
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