Erwin Wijnands

Maastricht Universitair Medisch Centrum, Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands

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Publications (21)149.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and their precursors have been associated with the development of atherosclerosis. We recently discovered that glyoxalase 1 (GLO1), the major detoxifying enzyme for AGE-precursors, is decreased in ruptured human plaques and that levels of AGEs are higher in rupture-prone plaques. We here investigated whether overexpression of human GLO1 in ApoE(-/-) mice could reduce development of atherosclerosis METHODS AND RESULTS: We crossed C57Bl6 ApoE(-/-) mice with C57Bl6 GLO1 overexpressing mice (huGLO1(+/-)) to generate ApoE(-/-) (n=16) and ApoE(-/-) huGLO1(+/-) (n=20) mice. To induce diabetes, we injected a subset with streptozotocin to generate diabetic ApoE(-/-) (n=8) and ApoE(-/-) huGLO1(+/-) (n=13) mice. All mice were fed chow and sacrificed at 25 weeks of age. The GLO1 activity was threefold increased in huGLO1(+/-) aorta, but aortic root lesion size and phenotype did not differ between mice with- and without huGLO1(+/-) overexpression. We detected no differences in gene expression in aortic arches, in AGE levels and cytokines, in circulating cells and endothelial function between ApoE(-/-) mice with- and without huGLO1(+/-) overexpression. Although diabetic mice showed decreased GLO1 expression (p<0.05) and increased lesion size (p<0.05) in comparison to non-diabetic mice, GLO1 overexpression also did not affect the aortic root lesion size or inflammation in diabetic mice.
    Cardiovascular Research 08/2014; · 5.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is a lipid-driven inflammatory disease of the vessel wall, characterized by the chronic activation of macrophages. We investigated whether the helminth-derived antigens [soluble egg antigens (SEAs)] could modulate macrophage inflammatory responses and protect against atherosclerosis in mice. In bone marrow-derived macrophages, SEAs induce anti-inflammatory macrophages, typified by high levels of IL-10 and reduced secretion of proinflammatory mediators. In hyperlipidemic LDLR(-/-) mice, SEA treatment reduced plaque size by 44%, and plaques were less advanced compared with PBS-injected littermate controls. The atheroprotective effect of SEAs was found to be mainly independent of cholesterol lowering and T-lymphocyte responses but instead could be attributed to diminished myeloid cell activation. SEAs reduced circulating neutrophils and inflammatory Ly6C(high) monocytes, and macrophages showed high IL-10 production. In line with the observed systemic effects, atherosclerotic lesions of SEA-treated mice showed reduced intraplaque inflammation as inflammatory markers [TNF-α, monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and CD68], neutrophil content, and newly recruited macrophages were decreased. We show that SEA treatment protects against atherosclerosis development by dampening inflammatory responses. In the future, helminth-derived components may provide novel opportunities to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, as they diminish systemic inflammation and reduce the activation of immune cells.-Wolfs, I. M. J., Stöger, J. L., Goossens, P., Pöttgens, C., Gijbels, M. J. J., Wijnands, E., van der Vorst, E. P. C., van Gorp, P., Beckers, L., Engel, D., Biessen, E. A. L., Kraal, G., van Die, I., Donners, M. M. P. C., de Winther, M. P. J. Reprogramming macrophages to an anti-inflammatory phenotype by helminth antigens reduces murine atherosclerosis.
    The FASEB Journal 09/2013; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac hypertrophy and subsequent heart failure triggered by chronic hypertension represent major challenges for cardiovascular research. Beyond neurohormonal and myocyte signaling pathways, growing evidence suggests inflammatory signaling pathways as therapeutically targetable contributors to this process. We recently reported that microRNA-155 is a key mediator of cardiac inflammation and injury in infectious myocarditis. Here we investigated the impact of miRNA-155 manipulation in hypertensive heart disease. Genetic loss or pharmacological inhibition of the leukocyte-expressed microRNA-155 in mice markedly reduced cardiac inflammation, hypertrophy and dysfunction upon pressure overload. These alterations were macrophage-dependent, as in vivo cardiomyocyte-specific microRNA-155 manipulation did not affect cardiac hypertrophy or dysfunction, whereas bone marrow transplantation from wild type into microRNA-155 knockout animals rescued the cardiomyocytes' hypertrophic response and vice versa. In vitro, media from microRNA-155 knockout macrophages blocked the hypertrophic growth of stimulated cardiomyocytes, confirming that macrophages influence myocyte growth in a miR-155-dependent paracrine manner. These effects were at least partly mediated by the direct microRNA-155 target Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 (Socs1), as Socs1 knockdown in microRNA-155 knockout macrophages largely restored their hypertrophy-stimulating potency. Our findings reveal that microRNA-155 expression in macrophages promotes cardiac inflammation, hypertrophy and failure in response to pressure overload. These data support the causative significance of inflammatory signaling in hypertrophic heart disease and demonstrate the feasibility of therapeutic microRNA targeting of inflammation in heart failure.
    Circulation 08/2013; · 14.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukocyte chemotaxis is deemed instrumental in initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. It is mediated by G-protein-coupled receptors (e.g., CCR2 and CCR5), the activity of which is controlled by G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs). In this study, we analyzed the effect of hematopoietic deficiency of a potent regulator kinase of chemotaxis (GRK2) on atherogenesis. LDL receptor-deficient (LDLr(-)(/)(-)) mice with heterozygous hematopoietic GRK2 deficiency, generated by bone marrow transplantation (n=15), displayed a dramatic attenuation of plaque development, with 79% reduction in necrotic core and increased macrophage content. Circulating monocytes decreased and granulocytes increased in GRK2(+/)(-) chimeras, which could be attributed to diminished granulocyte colony-forming units in bone marrow. Collectively, these data pointed to myeloid cells as major mediators of the impaired atherogenic response in GRK2(+/)(-) chimeras. LDLr(-)(/)(-) mice with macrophage/granulocyte-specific GRK2 deficiency (LysM-Cre GRK2(flox/flox); n=8) failed to mimic the aforementioned phenotype, acquitting these cells as major responsible subsets for GRK2 deficiency-associated atheroprotection. To conclude, even partial hematopoietic GRK2 deficiency prevents atherosclerotic lesion progression beyond the fatty streak stage, identifying hematopoietic GRK2 as a potential target for intervention in atherosclerosis.-Otten, J. J. T., de Jager, S. C. A., Kavelaars, A., Seijkens, T., Bot, I., Wijnands, E., Beckers, L., Westra, M. M., Bot, M., Busch, M., Bermudez, B., van Berkel, T. J. C., Heijnen, C. J., Biessen, E. A. L. Hematopoietic G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 deficiency decreases atherosclerotic lesion formation in LDL receptor-knockout mice.
    The FASEB Journal 10/2012; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Viral myocarditis results from an adverse immune response to cardiotropic viruses, which causes irreversible myocyte destruction and heart failure in previously healthy people. The involvement of microRNAs and their usefulness as therapeutic targets in this process are unknown. To identify microRNAs involved in viral myocarditis pathogenesis and susceptibility. Cardiac microRNAs were profiled in both human myocarditis and in Coxsackievirus B3-injected mice, comparing myocarditis-susceptible with nonsusceptible mouse strains longitudinally. MicroRNA responses diverged depending on the susceptibility to myocarditis after viral infection in mice. MicroRNA-155, -146b, and -21 were consistently and strongly upregulated during acute myocarditis in both humans and susceptible mice. We found that microRNA-155 expression during myocarditis was localized primarily in infiltrating macrophages and T lymphocytes. Inhibition of microRNA-155 by a systemically delivered LNA-anti-miR attenuated cardiac infiltration by monocyte-macrophages, decreased T lymphocyte activation, and reduced myocardial damage during acute myocarditis in mice. These changes were accompanied by the derepression of the direct microRNA-155 target PU.1 in cardiac inflammatory cells. Beyond the acute phase, microRNA-155 inhibition reduced mortality and improved cardiac function during 7 weeks of follow-up. Our data show that cardiac microRNA dysregulation is a characteristic of both human and mouse viral myocarditis. The inflammatory microRNA-155 is upregulated during acute myocarditis, contributes to the adverse inflammatory response to viral infection of the heart, and is a potential therapeutic target for viral myocarditis.
    Circulation Research 06/2012; 111(4):415-25. · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AimsThe importance of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) as an immune regulatory cytokine in atherosclerosis has been established. However, the role of TGFβ signalling in dendritic cells (DCs) and in DC-mediated T cell proliferation and differentiation in atherosclerosis is unknown.Methods and resultsHere, we investigated the effect of disrupted TGFβ signalling in DCs on atherosclerosis by using mice carrying a transgene resulting in functional inactivation of TGFβ receptor II (TGFβRII) signalling in CD11c(+) cells (Apoe(-/-)CD11cDNR). Apoe(-/-)CD11cDNR mice exhibited an over two-fold increase in the plaque area compared with Apoe(-/-) mice. Plaques of Apoe(-/-)CD11cDNR mice showed an increase in CD45(+) leucocyte content, and specifically in CD3(+), CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells, whereas macrophage content was not affected. In lymphoid organs, Apoe(-/-)CD11cDNR mice had equal amounts of CD11c(+) cells, and CD11c(+)CD8(+) and CD11c(+)CD8(-) subsets, but showed a subtle shift in the CD11c(+)CD8(-) population towards the more inflammatory CD11c(+)CD8(-)CD4(-) DC subset. In addition, the number of plasmacytoid-DCs decreased. Maturation markers such as MHCII, CD86 and CD40 on CD11c(hi) cells did not change, but the CD11cDNR DCs produced more TNFα and IL-12. CD11c(+) cells from CD11cDNR mice strongly induced T-cell proliferation and activation, resulting in increased amounts of effector T cells producing high amounts of Th1 (IFN-γ), Th2 (IL-4, IL-10), Th17 (IL-17), and Treg (IL-10) cytokines.Conclusion Here, we show that loss of TGFβRII signalling in CD11c(+) cells induces subtle changes in DC subsets, which provoke uncontrolled T cell activation and maturation. This results in increased atherosclerosis and an inflammatory plaque phenotype during hypercholesterolaemia.
    European Heart Journal 05/2012; · 14.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rationnel L’obésité constitue un facteur de risque pour les pathologies métaboliques et vasculaires telles que l’insulino-résistance, la stéatose hépatique ou l’athérosclérose. L’inflammation joue un rôle pivot dans le développement des désordres métaboliques. Il est clairement établi que les cellules immunitaires s’accumulent dans le tissu adipeux mais leurs interactions, entres elles ou avec les adipocytes, sont encore mal connues. Nous avons montré que la déficience en CD40 ligand améliore la prise de poids, l’inflammation adipeuse et la sensibilité à l’insuline chez la souris obèse. Notre objectif est ici d’étudier le rôle du récepteur CD40 et des molécules adaptatrices TRAF. Matériels et méthodes Des souris déficientes en CD40 re-exprimant ou non un CD40 présentant des mutations modifiant les sites de liaison aux TRAF (CD40-WT, CD40-TRAF2, CD40-TRAF6, CD40-TRAF2/6) ont reçu une alimentation hyperlipidique (18–20 semaines). Les paramètres inflammatoires et métaboliques ont été évalués. Résultats Contrairement au déficit en CD40L, celui en CD40 ne protège pas de la prise de poids, augmente l’infiltration des CD3+ dans le tissu adipeux et l’intolérance au glucose. Les souris déficientes pour la signalisation TRAF2/6 présentent un gain de poids accéléré comparées aux autres génotypes. À poids égal, ces souris sont plus fortement intolérantes au glucose et insulino-résistantes. L’infiltration de leur tissu adipeux par les lymphocytes T pro-inflammatoires est augmentée alors que celle des lymphocytes T régulateurs est réduite. La stéatose hépatique est nettement augmentée chez les souris CD40-TRAF2/6. Le phénotype des TRAF2 est similaire, bien que moins prononcé, tandis que celui des TRAF6 est peu ou pas modifié. Conclusion De façon inattendue, le déficit en CD40 aggrave les complications métaboliques et inflammatoires de l’obésité. L’absence de signalisation CD40-TRAF2/6 amplifie les effets délétères du régime gras, suggérant un rôle protecteur de cette voie inflammatoire. Sa modulation pourrait constituer une cible d’intérêt dans le traitement de l’obésité et complications associées.
    Diabetes & Metabolism 03/2012; 38:A4. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obese adipose tissue shows hallmarks of chronic inflammation, which promotes the development of metabolic disorders. The mechanisms by which immune cells interact with each other or with metabolism-associated cell types, and the players involved, are still unclear. The CD40-CD40L costimulatory dyad plays a pivotal role in immune responses and in diseases such as atherosclerosis and may therefore be a mediator of obesity. Here we investigated whether CD40L is involved in adipose tissue inflammation and its associated metabolic changes. To assess a putative role of CD40L in obesity in vivo, we evaluated metabolic and inflammatory consequences of 18 weeks of high-fat feeding in CD40L(+/+) and CD40L(-/-) mice. In addition, C57Bl6 mice were injected with neutralizing anti-CD40L (αCD40L) antibody for 12 weeks while being fed a high-fat diet. Genetic deficiency of CD40L attenuated the development of diet-induced obesity, hepatic steatosis, and increased systemic insulin sensitivity. In adipose tissue, it impaired obesity-induced immune cell infiltration and the associated deterioration of glucose and lipid metabolism. Accordingly, αCD40L treatment improved systemic insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and CD4(+) T-cell infiltration in adipose tissue with limited effects on adipose tissue weight. CD40L plays a crucial role in the development of obesity-induced inflammation and metabolic complications.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 08/2011; 31(10):2251-60. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caveolin-1 plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis, which is mainly attributed to its effects on low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) transcytosis. However, caveolin-1 has also been implicated in the regulation of inflammation. We investigated the effects of caveolin-1 deficiency in atherosclerosis with its accompanying changes in plaque- and lymphoid-related immunology and inflammation. Cav1(-/-)Apoe(-/-) mice exhibited a 15-fold reduction in plaque size with plaques containing fewer macrophages, T cells, and neutrophils. Intravital microscopy revealed 83% less leukocyte adhesion to the vessel wall in Cav1(-/-)Apoe(-/-) mice, which could be attributed to reduced endothelial chemokine ligand-2 (CCL-2/MCP-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression. Caveolin-1 deficiency resulted in a 57% increase in regulatory T cells and a 4% decrease in CD4(+) effector T cells in lymphoid organs. Bone marrow transplantations revealed that Cav1(-/-)Apoe(-/-) mice receiving Cav1(+/+)Apoe(-/-) or Cav1(-/-)Apoe(-/-) bone marrow presented 4- to 4.5-fold smaller plaques with no additional phenotypic changes. In contrast, atherosclerosis was not affected in Cav1(+/+) Apoe(-/-) recipients receiving Cav1(-/-)Apoe(-/-) or Cav1(+/+) Apoe(-/-) bone marrow. However, the presence of Cav1(-/-) Apoe(-/-) bone marrow was associated with an anti-inflammatory T-cell profile. Our study reveals that nonhematopoietic caveolin-1 determines plaque size, whereas hematopoietic caveolin-1 regulates lymphoid immune-modulation. However, both are required for phenotypic modulation of plaques.
    The FASEB Journal 07/2011; 25(11):3838-48. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CD40 ligand (CD40L), identified as a costimulatory molecule expressed on T cells, is also expressed and functional on platelets. We investigated the thrombotic and inflammatory contributions of platelet CD40L in atherosclerosis. Although CD40L-deficient (Cd40l(-/-)) platelets exhibited impaired platelet aggregation and thrombus stability, the effects of platelet CD40L on inflammatory processes in atherosclerosis were more remarkable. Repeated injections of activated Cd40l(-/-) platelets into Apoe(-/-) mice strongly decreased both platelet and leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium and decreased plasma CCL2 levels compared with wild-type platelets. Moreover, Cd40l(-/-) platelets failed to form proinflammatory platelet-leukocyte aggregates. Expression of CD40L on platelets was required for platelet-induced atherosclerosis as injection of Cd40l(-/-) platelets in contrast to Cd40l(+/+) platelets did not promote lesion formation. Remarkably, injection of Cd40l(+/+), but not Cd40l(-/-), platelets transiently decreased the amount of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in blood and spleen. Depletion of Tregs in mice injected with activated Cd40l(-/-) platelets abrogated the athero-protective effect, indicating that CD40L on platelets mediates the reduction of Tregs leading to accelerated atherosclerosis. We conclude that platelet CD40L plays a pivotal role in atherosclerosis, not only by affecting platelet-platelet interactions but especially by activating leukocytes, thereby increasing platelet-leukocyte and leukocyte-endothelium interactions.
    Blood 11/2010; 116(20):4317-27. · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements 06/2010; 11(2):2-2. · 9.67 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements 06/2010; 11(2):11-12. · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies showed both pro- and anti-atherogenic effects of immunosuppressant drug FK506 on atherosclerosis. As these divergent/paradoxical results of FK506 may at least in part be attributable to differences in FK506 dosing, we have, in the current study, assessed dose-dependent effects of FK506 on atherosclerotic lesion formation as well as on inflammatory parameters relevant to atherosclerosis. Unlike low-dose FK506, high-dose FK506 did not protect against atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice. The high-dose induced hypercholesterolaemia, whereas the low-dose did not. Both low- and high-dose FK506 treatment significantly reduced systemic CD3+ and CD4+CD25+ T-cell populations, and showed similar suppression of FoxP3 regulatory T-cell populations. Increased IL-4+ CD4+ T-cells and decreased IgG-MDA-LDL antibody titres pointed to a selective, albeit modest Th2 skewing in the high-dose treatment group, despite the advanced stage of atherosclerosis. Low concentrations of FK506, however, skewed bone marrow-derived macrophage polarisation towards a M2 macrophage phenotype, whereas high concentration did not. A low-dose FK506 treatment regime protected against atherosclerosis by suppressing T-cell activation and favouring (M2) macrophage polarisation. Although a high-dose FK506 treatment effected a similar T-cell suppressive effect, with an even more pronounced shift towards Th2 type immune responses, this did not translate in atheroprotection due to the hypercholesterolaemia and absent M2 skewing.
    Thrombosis and Haemostasis 05/2010; 104(1):143-50. · 5.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) signaling axis plays an important role in immunological pathways. Consequently, this dyad is involved in chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis. Inhibition of CD40L in apolipoprotein E (Apoe)-deficient (Apoe(-/-)) mice not only reduced atherosclerosis but also conferred a clinically favorable plaque phenotype that was low in inflammation and high in fibrosis. Blockade of CD40L may not be therapeutically feasible, as long-term inhibition will compromise systemic immune responses. Conceivably, more targeted intervention strategies in CD40 signaling will have less deleterious side effects. We report that deficiency in hematopoietic CD40 reduces atherosclerosis and induces features of plaque stability. To elucidate the role of CD40-tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF) signaling in atherosclerosis, we examined disease progression in mice deficient in CD40 and its associated signaling intermediates. Absence of CD40-TRAF6 but not CD40-TRAF2/3/5 signaling abolishes atherosclerosis and confers plaque fibrosis in Apoe(-/-) mice. Mice with defective CD40-TRAF6 signaling display a reduced blood count of Ly6C(high) monocytes, an impaired recruitment of Ly6C(+) monocytes to the arterial wall, and polarization of macrophages toward an antiinflammatory regulatory M2 signature. These data unveil a role for CD40-TRAF6, but not CD40-TRAF2/3/5, interactions in atherosclerosis and establish that targeting specific components of the CD40-CD40L pathway harbors the potential to achieve therapeutic effects in atherosclerosis.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2010; 207(2):391-404. · 13.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cathepsin K (catK), a lysosomal cysteine protease, exerts strong elastinolytic and collagenolytic activity and is implicated in a range of pathological disorders including cardiovascular disease. CatK expression was found to be elevated in human aortic aneurysm pointing to a role in this vasculopathy. In the angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced mouse model for aneurysm formation, catK, S and C expression was strongly upregulated. Therefore, we investigated the effect of catK deficiency on Ang II-induced aneurysm formation in the abdominal aorta of apoE-/- mice. Contrary to our expectations, catK deficiency did not protect against aneurysm formation, nor did it affect medial elastin breaks. Proteolytic activity in abdominal aortic lysates were comparable between apoE-/- and catK-//-apoE-/- mice. Adventitial presence of catS- and catC-expressing cells was significantly increased in catK-/-//apoE-/- versus apoE-/- mice, which might have compensated for the deficiency of catK-derived proteolysis in the aneurysm tissue of catK deficient apoE-/- mice. Circulating granulocytes and activated T cell numbers were significantly increased in Ang II-infused catK-/-//apoE-/- mice, which is consistent with the borderline significant increase in adventitial leukocyte content in catK-/-//apoE-/- compared to apoE-/- mice. Strikingly, despite unchanged proteolytic activity in AAA lesions, collagen content in the aneurysm was significantly increased in catK-//-apoE-/- mice. In conclusion, while catK deficiency has major impact on various vasculopathies, it did not affect murine aneurysm formation.
    Atherosclerosis 09/2009; 209(1):96-103. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the large arteries that is responsible for the majority of cardiovascular events. In its pathogenesis, the immune system plays a pivotal role. The effectuation of the immune response through interactions between immune cells that is mediated by co-stimulatory molecules, determine atherosclerosis severity. This review will highlight the role of one of the most powerful co-stimulatory dyads, the CD154 (also known as CD40 ligand, CD40L)-CD40 dyad, in atherosclerosis. Its cell-type specific actions, signal transduction cascades and its therapeutic potentials will be discussed.
    Seminars in Immunology 08/2009; 21(5):308-12. · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The progressive rise in uterine blood flow (UBF) during pregnancy is accompanied by outward hypertrophic remodeling of the uterine artery (UA). After birth, UBF falls in concert with the sudden decline in uterine metabolic demands. Arterial remodeling associated with the reversal of increased blood flow has been described in large arteries. It is unclear whether this situation applies to small-sized resistance arteries such as the UA. We investigated the pattern of UA remodeling postpartum in relation to age and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) deficiency. Uterine artery of 2 and 10 days postpartum young (age 12 weeks), aged (age 40 weeks), and eNOS-deficient (eNOS( -/-), age 12 weeks) mice were dissected and processed for either morphometric analysis (lumen, wall mass) or immunohistochemistry (cellular differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis). We used data of previously studied control (nonpregnant) and late-pregnant (17 days gestation) mice as reference. By 2 days postpartum, morphometric and cellular characteristics of the UA did not differ from those of late-pregnant UA. By 10 days postpartum, the UA was wider with wall mass being decreased by approximately 30%. Cytological parameters indicated a stable smooth muscle media. Apoptosis was only present in UA of 2 and 10 days pregnant mice. In eNOS(- /-) and aged mice, changes were smaller or absent, respectively. The outward hypertrophic response of the UA induced by pregnancy regresses gradually postpartum. We speculate that persisting UA widening facilitates UA remodeling in a next pregnancy thereby favoring placentation and with it, allowing for a higher birth weight as usually observed in a second mammalian pregnancy.
    Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) 05/2009; 16(7):642-9. · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6) plays a role in pro-atherogenic processes such as endothelial and leukocyte activation, smooth muscle cell migration and thrombosis, but its role in atherosclerosis remains uninvestigated. Here, we report that Gas6 is expressed in all stages of human and mouse atherosclerosis, in plaque endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and macrophages. Gas6 expression is most abundant in lesions containing high amounts of macrophages, ie thin fibrous cap atheroma and ruptured plaque. Genetic loss of Gas6 does not affect the number and size of initial and advanced plaques in ApoE(-/-) mice, but alters its plaque composition. Compared to Gas6(+/+): ApoE(-/-) mice, initial and advanced plaques of Gas6(-/-): ApoE(-/-) mice contained more smooth muscle cells and more collagen and developed smaller lipid cores, while the expression of TGFbeta was increased. In addition, fewer macrophages were found in advanced plaques of Gas6(-/-): ApoE(-/-) mice. Hence, loss of Gas6 promotes the formation of more stable atherosclerotic lesions by increasing plaque fibrosis and by attenuating plaque inflammation. These findings identify a role for Gas6 in plaque composition and stability.
    The Journal of Pathology 05/2008; 216(1):55-63. · 7.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the role of CD40 and CD40L in neointima formation and identified the downstream CD40-signaling intermediates (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-receptor associated factors [TRAF]) involved. Neointima formation was induced in wild-type, CD40(-/-), CD40L(-/-), and in CD40(-/-) mice that contained a CD40 transgene with or without mutations at the CD40-TRAF2,3&5, TRAF6, or TRAF2,3,5&6 binding sites. Compared with wild-type mice, CD40(-/-) mice showed a significant decrease in neointima formation with increased collagen deposition and decreased inflammatory cell infiltration. Neointima formation was also impaired in wild-type mice reconstituted with CD40(-/-) bone marrow. In vitro, the capacity of CD40(-/-) leukocytes to adhere to the endothelium was reduced. Ligated carotid arteries of CD40(-/-) mice showed a smaller total vessel volume and an impaired remodeling capacity, reflected by decreased gelatinolytic/collagenolytic activity. Comparable results were found in mice with defects in CD40-TRAF6 and CD40-TRAF 2/3/5&6 binding, but not in mice with defects in CD40-TRAF2/3&5 binding. Neointima formation and vascular remodeling in CD40-receptor-deficient mice is impaired, due to a decreased inflammatory cell infiltration and matrix-degrading protease activity, with CD40-TRAF6 signaling as the key regulator. This identifies the CD40-TRAF6 axis as a potential therapeutic target in vascular disease.
    Blood 05/2008; 111(9):4596-604. · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • Blood. 116:4317-4327.

Publication Stats

309 Citations
149.89 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2014
    • Maastricht Universitair Medisch Centrum
      • Central Diagnostic Laboratory
      Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands
  • 2012
    • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2011
    • Maastricht University
      • Pathologie
      Maastricht, Provincie Limburg, Netherlands