[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the efficacy in reducing acute rejection events in organ transplanted subjects, long term therapy with cyclosporine A is associated with increased atherosclerotic cardiovascular morbidity. We studied whether this drug affects the antiatherogenic process of the reverse cholesterol transport from macrophages in vivo. Cyclosporine A 50 mg/kg/d was administered to C57BL/6 mice by subcutaneous injection for 14 days. Macrophage reverse cholesterol transport was assessed by following [(3)H]-cholesterol mobilization from pre-labeled intraperitoneally injected macrophages, expressing or not apolipoprotein E, to plasma, liver and feces. The pharmacological treatment significantly reduced the amount of radioactive sterols in the feces, independently on the expression of apolipoprotein E in the macrophages injected into recipient mice and in absence of changes of plasma levels of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Gene expression analysis revealed that cyclosporine A inhibited the hepatic levels of cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase, concomitantly with the increase in hepatic and intestinal expression of ATP Binding Cassette G5. However, the in vivo relevance of the last observation was challenged by the demonstration that mice treated or not with cyclosporine A showed the same levels of circulating beta-sitosterol. These results indicate that treatment of mice with cyclosporine A impaired the macrophage reverse cholesterol transport by reducing fecal sterol excretion, possibly through the inhibition of cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase expression. The current observation may provide a potential mechanism for the high incidence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease following the immunosuppressant therapy in organ transplanted recipients.
PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e71572. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Polymorphonuclear neutrophils, the first leukocytes to infiltrate the inflamed tissue, can make important contributions to vascular inflammatory processes driving the development of atherosclerosis. We herein investigated the effects of atorvastatin and NCX 6560 (a nitric oxide (NO)-donating atorvastatin derivative that has completed a successful phase 1b study) on neutrophilic inflammation in carotid arteries of normocholesterolemic rabbits subjected to perivascular collar placement. METHODS: Atorvastatin or NCX 6560 were administered orally (5 mg/kg/day or equimolar dose) to New Zealand White rabbits for 6 days, followed by collar implantation 1 h after the last dose. Twenty-four hours later carotids were harvested for neutrophil quantification by immunostaining. RESULTS: Treatment with NCX 6560 was associated with a lower neutrophil infiltration (-39.5 %), while atorvastatin did not affect neutrophil content. The result was independent of effects on plasma cholesterol or differences in atorvastatin bioavailability, which suggests an important role of NO-related mechanisms in mediating this effect. Consistent with these in vivo findings, in vitro studies showed that NCX 6560, as compared to atorvastatin, had greater inhibitory activity on processes involved in neutrophil recruitment, such as migration in response to IL-8 and IL-8 release by endothelial cells and by neutrophils themselves. Pretreatment with NCX 6560, but not with atorvastatin, reduced the ability of neutrophil supernatants to promote monocyte chemotaxis, a well-known pro-inflammatory activity of neutrophils. CONCLUSION: Experimental data suggest a potential role of NO-releasing statins in the control of the vascular inflammatory process mediated by polymorphonuclear neutrophils.
Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy 02/2013; · 2.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ascorbic acid (AA) supplementation has been suggested to afford erythropoietin hyporesponsiveness and high levels of ferritin in haemodialysis (HD) patients. However, little is known about the possible side effects of this policy on vascular calcification (VC). VC, induced by a high-phosphate and uraemic milieu, is characterized by a passive deposition of calcium-phosphate (Ca-P) and an active transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in osteoblastic-like cells. The aim of these studies was to characterize the combined effects of AA and P on VC.
Rat VSMCs were challenged with inorganic P (Pi) and AA, and Ca deposition analysis was performed to quantify VC. To investigate VSMC osteoblastic differentiation, we analysed α-actin protein content and core-binding factor alpha-1 (Cbfα1/RUNX2) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression.
When incubated with 5 mM Pi, VSMCs showed a significant increase in Ca deposition compared to control cells. Interestingly, the addition of AA in the calcification medium resulted in a dose-dependent increase in Pi-induced Ca deposition. At the same time, the combined effect of AA and Pi on VSMCs resulted in the reduction of α-actin protein content and in a 4-fold increase of Cbfα1/RUNX2 mRNA expression.
We demonstrated that AA combined with Pi increases Ca deposition in rat VSMCs. The role of AA as cofactor in osteoblastic differentiation was demonstrated by phenotypic changes in VSMCs and enhanced bone mineralization key gene expression. These in vitro preliminary data suggest a potential role for AA combined with Pi in worsening VC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether the morphological and functional changes typical of cell immobilization induced by free cholesterol (FC) accumulation in macrophages is related to the activity of the ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCA1).
FC loading induced actin rearrangement with ruffling and cell spreading in macrophages that normally express ABCA1, but to a significant lesser extent in ABCA1-KO mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPMs) and in normal cells upon pharmacological inhibition of ABCA1 with probucol. In ABCA1-KO MPMs and in probucol-treated J774 cell migration was inhibited to a lower extent by FC as compared to control cells. Similar results were found in stably ABCA1 knocked down J774 (ABCA1-KD-J774) obtained by RNA interference. FC accessible to cholesterol oxidase, a measure of plasma membrane FC content, was significantly higher in FC-loaded WT MPMs and control J774 than in FC-loaded ABCA1-KO MPMs, ABCA1-KD-J774 or probucol-treated J774. In parallel plasma membrane total phospholids and sphingomyelin increased after cholesterol loading in control J774 but not in ABCA1-KD-J774. In addition, apoA-I, that removes FC from ABCA1 specific pool, partially restored chemotactic response in FC-loaded control J774. No effect was observed with HDL(2) that does not interact with ABCA1. Finally, FC-induced Rac activation was more efficient in control J774 than in ABCA1-KD-J774. and was prevented by probucol and apoA-I in control J774.
In macrophages ABCA1 activity mediates FC ability to alter plasma membrane organization, to inhibit cell migration, and to activate a Rac-mediated signaling pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Statins, by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, decrease the synthesis not only of cholesterol but also of nonsteroidal mevalonate derivatives. While the first effect translates into plasma cholesterol reductions, the second is related to nonlipid-lowering (pleiotropic) properties. Purpose of this review is to assess the correlation between differences in statin structures and clinical effects. While the cardiovascular benefits of statin chronic therapy are achieved by lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and should be considered a class effect, the acute ones may reflect structure differences and pleiotropic properties of these drugs.
Clinical studies conducted in acute coronary syndrome patients suggest that some benefits achieved by early statin treatment could be related to their pleiotropic properties. Indeed, ex-vivo studies showed the ability of sera from hypercholesterolemic patients treated with a single dose of atorvastatin (but not of simvastatin), to inhibit smooth muscle cell proliferation, independently of LDL-C lowering.
These findings give a clinical ground to statins' potentially structure-related anti-inflammatory and pleiotropic properties, opening the possibility to control different aspects of atherosclerosis, by choosing the appropriate statin (tailored therapy), particularly in high-cardiovascular-risk patients.
Current opinion in lipidology 08/2010; 21(4):298-304. · 5.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in humans, but the nature of this link is still elusive. Aim of this study was to investigate aortic atherosclerosis development in a mouse model with central nervous system (CNS) restricted beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) overexpression.
APP23 mice, overexpressing the Swedish mutated human APP selectively in the brain, were crossed with mice lacking apolipoprotein E (ApoE KO). Nine weeks old mice were fed a western type diet for eight weeks, then atherosclerotic lesions, aortic wall and cortical tissues gene expression and beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposition were evaluated. Compared with ApoE KO, APP23/ApoE KO mice developed larger aortic atherosclerotic lesions and showed significantly increased expression of MCP-1, IL-6, ICAM-1 and MTPase 6, a marker of oxidative stress in the vascular wall. Of note brain limited APP synthesis was associated with an increased microglia and brain endothelial cells activation, in spite of the absence of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain or alteration in the levels of oxidized metabolites of cholesterol such as 4-cholesten-3-one.
Our study suggests that the vascular pro-inflammatory effects of CNS-localised APP overexpression lead to atherogenesis before parenchymal Abeta deposition and neuronal dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Integrin-mediated cell adhesion to type I fibrillar collagen regulates gene and protein expression, whereas little is known of its effect on lipid metabolism. In the present study, we examined the effect of type I fibrillar collagen on cholesterol biosynthesis in human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs).
SMCs were cultured on either fibrillar or monomer collagen for 48 hours and [(14)C]-acetate incorporation into cholesterol was evaluated. Fibrillar collagen reduced by 72.9+/-2.6% cholesterol biosynthesis without affecting cellular cholesterol levels. Fibrillar collagen also reduced 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA) promoter activity (-72.6+/-7.3%), mRNA (-58.7+/-6.4%), protein levels (-35.5+/-8.5%), and enzyme activity (-37.7+/-2.2%). Intracellular levels of the active form of sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBP) 1a was decreased by 60.7+/-21.7% in SMCs cultured on fibrillar collagen, whereas SREBP2 was not significantly affected (+12.1+/-7.1%). The overexpression of the active form of SREBP1a rescued the downregulation of fibrillar collagen on HMG-CoA reductase levels. Blocking antibody to alpha2 integrin partially reversed the downregulation of HMG-CoA reductase mRNA expression. Finally, fibrillar collagen led to an intracellular accumulation of unprenylated Ras.
Our study demonstrated that alpha2 beta 1 integrin interaction with fibrillar collagen affected the expression of HMG-CoA reductase, which led to the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis in human SMCs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monocytes/macrophages recruited into the arterial wall during atherogenesis are crucial in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis and play a fundamental role in the destabilization process that is the main causal event of acute coronary syndromes. In the present study, we investigated the effect of the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor everolimus on macrophage accumulation within carotid lesions elicited by perivascular collar placement in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Everolimus (1.5 mg/kg given 1 day before collaring followed by 1 mg/kg/day for 14 days, administered by oral gavage) markedly decreased lesion macrophage content as compared with vehicle control (-65%; p < 0.01). This effect was associated with a reduction in intimal thickening and occurred in the absence of changes in plasma cholesterol concentrations. To gain insights on the potential mechanism(s) underlying this effect, we investigated the influence of everolimus on chemoattractant-induced migration of human monocytes in vitro. Pretreatment with therapeutic concentrations of everolimus (10 nM) significantly lowered monocyte chemotaxis in response to various chemotactic factors (i.e., monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/CCL2, fractalkine/CX3CL1, interleukin-8/CXCL8, complement fragment 5a, or N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe) without inducing monocyte cell death. These results suggest that everolimus may favorably influence the atherosclerotic process by affecting the recruitment of monocytes into early lesions.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 12/2008; 328(2):419-25. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration and proliferation contribute to the pathobiology of atherosclerosis and of instent restenosis, transplant vasculopathy and vein by-pass graft failure. Since mevalonate (MVA) and other intermediates of cholesterol biosynthesis (isoprenoids) are necessary for cell migration and proliferation, inhibition of 3-methyl-3-glutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate limiting step of the MVA pathway, has the potential to result in antiatherosclerotic effects. Indeed statins, competitive inhibitors of the HMG-CoA reductase, have shown the capability to interfere with migration and proliferation of SMC in diverse experimental models. Here we summarize in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo evidence of the inhibitory effects of statins on SMC proliferation and migration and discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in their pharmacodynamic action. Altogether, this evidence suggests direct vascular antiatherosclerotic properties of statins. However, it is important to mention that statins failed to prevent intimal thickening when studied in clinical setting characterized by accelerated vascular SMC proliferation and migration (e.g. restenosis after PTCA and instent restenosis), thus leaving open the question of the clinical relevance of these direct vascular effects of statins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the pharmacological activity of whole-blood serum from atorvastatin- vs. simvastatin- (both 40 mg/day) treated hypercholesterolemic patients (n=10) on cultured smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and cholesterol biosynthesis, as related to lipid-lowering effect. Patients received either single or 2-weeks repeated doses of both simvastatin and atorvastatin, following a randomised, double-blind, cross-over design. Blood samples were collected before drug administration and at the scheduled intervals after administration, and the obtained serum was separated by centrifugation, sterilized and frozen until assayed. Cultured SMC were supplemented with medium plus 15% of separate serum sampled from the patients, and grown for 72 h. Proliferation was assayed by a Coulter Counter, while cholesterol biosynthesis was measured by the incorporation of 14C-acetate into cholesterol, under the same experimental conditions. Atorvastatin was more active vs. simvastatin in reducing total- (-28.3% vs. -20.7%; p=0.045) and LDL-cholesterol (-39.8% vs. -30.1%; p=0.011) after a 2-weeks regimen. Serum from atorvastatin-treated patients inhibited SMC proliferation vs.t=0 after both single (AUC -21.6%) and repeated (AUC -26.9%) doses, while serum from simvastatin-treated patients inhibited SMC proliferation only after repeated doses (AUC -24.5%). Interestingly, in the same experimental conditions, the serum concentrations of both statins (and of their active metabolites) were constantly below the detection limits, as shown from the lack of inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis. The absence of any significant association between the lipid-lowering effects and the inhibition of SMC proliferation, together with no detectable active statin in the serum, suggests that these effects are elicited through independent mechanisms.
Pharmacological Research 01/2008; 56(6):503-8. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical trials have firmly established that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase inhibitors (statins) can induce regression of vascular atherosclerosis as well as reduction of cardiovascular-related morbidity and death in patients with and without coronary artery disease. These beneficial effects of statins are usually assumed to result from their ability to reduce cholesterol synthesis. However, because mevalonic acid is the precursor not only of cholesterol but also of many nonsteroidal isoprenoid compounds, inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase may result in pleiotropic effects. Indeed, statins can interfere with major events involved in the formation and the evolution of atherosclerotic lesions, such as arterial myocyte migration and proliferation and cholesterol accumulation, independent of their hypolipidemic properties. The aim of this article is to focus on clinical and experimental data that show that statins possess effects beyond cholesterol lowering, particularly on arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation. The contribution of these direct vascular effects to the reduction of cardiovascular events observed in clinical trials with statins represents one of the major challenges for future studies to understand the antiatherosclerotic benefits of these agents.
Seminars in Vascular Medicine 12/2004; 4(4):347-56.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of proteins post-translationally modified by the covalent attachment of mevalonate-derived isoprene groups farnesol (FOH) or geranylgeraniol (GGOH), play a role in cell proliferation. For this reason, protein farnesyltransferase (PFTase) and protein geranylgeranyltransferases (PGGTases) I and II have gained attention as novel targets for the development of antiproliferative agents. Monoterpenes [limonene, perillic acid (PA) and its derivatives] have been shown to inhibit cell growth and protein prenylation in cancer cells. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of S(−) PA on diploid rat aorta smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation as related to protein prenylation. S(−) PA (1–3.5 mM) decreased, in a concentration-dependent manner, rat SMC proliferation as evaluated by cell counting and DNA synthesis. Morphological criteria and flow cytometry analysis excluded the induction of apoptosis as a potential antiproliferative mechanism of S(−) PA on SMC and confirmed a block of the cell cycle progression in G0/G1 phase. The antiproliferative effect of S(−) PA could not be prevented by the addition of mevalonate, FOH, and GGOH to the culture medium and was independent of cholesterol biosynthesis. Densitometric analysis of fluorographed gels, after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the cell lysates, further supported that S(−) PA (1–3.5 mM), under the same experimental conditions, concentration-dependently inhibited FOH (up to 70%) and GGOH (up to 70%) incorporation into cellular proteins. We provide evidence that S(−) PA affects protein prenylation, an effect that may contribute to its inhibition of SMC proliferation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that angiotensin II stimulates the synthesis of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in cultured vascular cells, which suggests that activation of the renin-angiotensin system may impair fibrinolysis. We have investigated the effects of angiotensin II and of valsartan, a recently developed angiotensin II antagonist that is highly specific and selective for the angiotensin II subtype 1 receptor, on plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 secretion by smooth muscle cells isolated from rat and human vessels. Angiotensin II induced a time- and concentration-dependent increase of plasminogen activator inhibitor activity in supernatants of rat aortic cells, which reached a plateau after 6 hours of incubation with 100 nmol/L angiotensin II (2.4+/-0.6-fold over control value; P:<0.001). The angiotensin II-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor activity was inhibited, in a concentration-dependent manner, by valsartan with an IC(50) value of 21 nmol/L. Valsartan fully prevented the angiotensin II-induced increase in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 protein and mRNA. Furthermore, angiotensin II doubled the secretion of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 by smooth muscle cells obtained from human umbilical and internal mammary arteries, and valsartan fully prevented it. Angiotensin II did not affect the secretion of tissue plasminogen activator antigen by any of the cell systems tested. Thus, valsartan effectively inhibits angiotensin II-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 secretion without affecting that of tissue plasminogen activator in arterial rat and human smooth muscle cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the direct anti-atherosclerotic properties of statins.
Using in vitro and ex vivo models, the effect of different statins on key events involved in atherogenesis has been investigated. We studied the ability of statins to modulate modified LDL-induced cholesterol esterification, metalloproteinase secretion by macrophages, and arterial myocyte migration and proliferation. The mechanisms underlying the inhibitory effect of statins have also been explored. Finally, the antiproliferative effect of sera from statin-treated patients has been confirmed in a cell culture system.
Fluvastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, and cerivastatin, but not pravastatin, dose-dependently decrease smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration and proliferation. Moreover, statins are able to reduce cholesterol accumulation in macrophages in vitro by blocking cholesterol esterification and endocytosis of modified lipoproteins and matrix-degrading enzyme secretion. This in vitro inhibition was completely prevented by mevalonate and partially by all-trans farnesol and all-trans geranylgeraniol, confirming the specific role of isoprenoid metabolites (probably through prenylated protein[s]) in regulating these cellular events. The inhibitory effect of statins on SMC proliferation has been shown in different models of proliferating cells, such as cultured arterial myocytes and rapidly proliferating carotid and femoral intimal lesions in rabbits, independently of their ability to reduce plasma cholesterol. Finally, ex vivo studies showed that sera from fluvastatin-treated patients interfere with SMC proliferation.
These results suggest that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors exert a direct anti-atherosclerotic effect in the arterial wall, beyond their effects on plasma lipids that could translate into a more significant prevention of cardiovascular disease. These findings provide a basis for the beneficial effect of statins in clinical trials also involving diabetic patients--a population with a higher absolute risk of recurrent cardiovascular events.
Diabetes Care 05/2000; 23 Suppl 2:B72-8. · 8.57 Impact Factor