Bradley S Fleenor

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, United States

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Publications (13)47.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Aging is the major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). This is attributable primarily to adverse changes in arteries, notably increases in large elastic artery stiffness and endothelial dysfunction mediated by inadequate concentrations of the vascular-protective molecule, nitric oxide (NO), and higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. Inorganic nitrite is a promising precursor molecule for augmenting circulating and tissue NO bioavailability because it requires only a one-step reduction to NO. Nitrite also acts as an independent signaling molecule, exerting many of the effects previously attributed to NO. Results of recent studies indicate that nitrite may be effective in the treatment of vascular aging. Short-term oral sodium nitrite supplementation reduces aortic pulse wave velocity, the gold-standard measure of large elastic artery stiffness, in old mice and ameliorates endothelial dysfunction, as indicated by normalization of NO-mediated endothelium-dependent dilation. These improvements in age-related vascular dysfunction with nitrite are mediated by reductions in oxidative stress and inflammation, and may be linked to increases in mitochondrial biogenesis and health. Increasing nitrite levels via dietary intake of nitrate appears to have similarly beneficial effects in many of the same physiological and clinical settings. Several clinical trials are being performed to determine the broad therapeutic potential of increasing nitrite bioavailability on human health and disease, including studies related to vascular aging. In summary, inorganic nitrite, as well as dietary nitrate, supplementation represents a promising therapy for treatment of arterial aging and prevention of age-associated CVD in humans.
    Journal of Applied Physiology 01/2014; · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that superoxide signaling within aortic perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) contributes to large elastic artery stiffening in old mice. Young (4-6 mo), old (26-28 mo), and old treated with TEMPOL, a superoxide scavenger (1mM in drinking water for 3 weeks), male C57BL6/N mice were studied. Compared with young, old had greater large artery stiffness assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV, 436±9 vs. 344±5 cm/s) and intrinsic mechanical testing (3821±427 vs. 1925±271 kPa) (both P<0.05). TEMPOL treatment in old reversed both measures of arterial stiffness. Aortic PVAT superoxide production was greater in old (P<0.05 vs. Y), which was normalized with TEMPOL. Compared with young, old controls had greater pro-inflammatory proteins in PVAT conditioned media (P<0.05). Young recipient mice transplanted with PVAT from old compared with young donors for 8 weeks had greater aPWV (409±7 vs. 342±8 cm/s) and intrinsic mechanical properties (3197±647 vs. 1889±520 kPa) (both P<0.05), which was abolished with TEMPOL supplementation in old donors. Tissue-cultured aortic segments from old in the presence of PVAT had greater mechanical stiffening compared with old cultured in the absence of PVAT and old with PVAT and TEMPOL (both, P<0.05). In addition, PVAT-derived superoxide was associated with arterial wall hypertrophy and greater adventitial collagen I expression with aging that was attenuated by TEMPOL. Aging or TEMPOL treatment did not affect blood pressure. Our findings provide evidence for greater age-related superoxide production and pro-inflammatory proteins in PVAT, and directly link superoxide signaling in PVAT to large elastic artery stiffness. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Aging cell 12/2013; · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Systolic BP and large elastic artery stiffness both increase with age and are reduced by dietary sodium restriction. Production of the natriuretic hormone marinobufagenin, an endogenous α1 Na+,K+-ATPase inhibitor, is increased in salt-sensitive hypertension and contributes to the rise in systolic BP during sodium loading. The hypothesis was that dietary sodium restriction performed in middle-aged/older adults (eight men and three women; 60±2 years) with moderately elevated systolic BP (139±2/83±2 mmHg) would reduce urinary marinobufagenin excretion as well as systolic BP and aortic pulse-wave velocity (randomized, placebo-controlled, and crossover design). This study also explored the associations among marinobufagenin excretion with systolic BP and aortic pulse-wave velocity across conditions of 5 weeks of a low-sodium (77±9 mmol/d) and 5 weeks of a normal-sodium (144±7 mmol/d) diet. Urinary marinobufagenin excretion (weekly measurements; 25.4±1.8 versus 30.7±2.1 pmol/kg per day), systolic BP (127±3 versus 138±5 mmHg), and aortic pulse-wave velocity (700±40 versus 843±36 cm/s) were lower during the low- versus normal-sodium condition (all P<0.05). Across all weeks, marinobufagenin excretion was related with systolic BP (slope=0.61, P<0.001) and sodium excretion (slope=0.46, P<0.001). These associations persisted during the normal- but not the low-sodium condition (both P<0.005). Marinobufagenin excretion also was associated with aortic pulse-wave velocity (slope=0.70, P=0.02) and endothelial cell expression of NAD(P)H oxidase-p47phox (slope=0.64, P=0.006). These results show, for the first time in humans, that dietary sodium restriction reduces urinary marinobufagenin excretion and that urinary marinobufagenin excretion is positively associated with systolic BP, aortic stiffness (aortic pulse-wave velocity), and endothelial cell expression of the oxidant enzyme NAD(P)H oxidase. Importantly, marinobufagenin excretion is positively related to systolic BP over ranges of sodium intake typical of an American diet, extending previous observations in rodents and humans fed experimentally high-sodium diets.
    Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 08/2013; · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    Bradley S Fleenor
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    ABSTRACT: Large elastic artery stiffness is an independent predictor of age-related cardiovascular events that is attributable to structural remodeling throughout the artery. The intima, media and adventitial layers of the artery uniquely remodel with advancing age and all contribute to arterial stiffening. The specific expression of the extracellular matrix proteins collagen and elastin, and post-translational modifications of these proteins by advanced glycation end-products are key mechanisms in arterial stiffening with age and will be reviewed in the context of region-specific expression. In addition, interventions for attenuating age-related arterial stiffness and novel imaging advances for translating basic findings to older clinical populations will be discussed.
    Aging and disease. 04/2013; 4(2):76-83.
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Fetal intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) results in increased placental resistance to blood flow, fetal hypertension and increased pulsatility stresses shown to lead to vascular remodeling. We tested our hypothesis that IUGR causes decreased compliance in the carotid and umbilical arteries due to altered extracellular matrix (ECM) composition and structure.Methods:A sheep model of placental insufficiency-induced IUGR (PI-IUGR) was created by exposure of the pregnant ewe to elevated ambient temperatures. Umbilical and carotid arteries from near-term fetuses were tested with pressure-diameter measurements to compare passive compliance in control and PI-IUGR tissues. ECM composition was measured via biochemical assay, and the organization was determined by using histology and second-harmonic generation imaging.Results:We found that PI-IUGR increased arterial stiffness with increased collagen engagement, or transition stretch. PI-IUGR carotid arteries exhibited increased collagen and elastin quantity and PI-IUGR umbilical arteries exhibited increased sulfated glycosaminoglycans. Histomorphology showed altered collagen to elastin ratios with altered cellular proliferation. Increased stiffness indicates altered collagen to elastin ratios with less elastin contribution leading to increased collagen engagement.Conclusion:Because vessel stiffness is a significant predictor in the development of hypertension, disrupted ECM deposition in IUGR provides a potential link between IUGR and adult hypertension.Pediatric Research (2012); doi:10.1038/pr.2012.156.
    Pediatric Research 11/2012; · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that curcumin supplementation would reverse arterial dysfunction and vascular oxidative stress with aging. Young (Y, 4-6 mo) and old (O, 26-28 mo) male C57BL6/N mice were given normal or curcumin supplemented (0.2%) chow for 4weeks (n=5-10/group/measure). Large elastic artery stiffness, assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), was greater in O (448±15 vs. 349±15cm/s) and associated with greater collagen I and advanced glycation end-products and less elastin (all P<0.05). In O, curcumin restored aPWV (386±15cm/s), collagen I and AGEs to levels not different vs. Y. Ex vivo carotid artery acetylcholine (ACh)-induced endothelial-dependent dilation (EDD, 79±3 vs. 94±2%), nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and protein expression of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) were lower in O (all P<0.05). In O, curcumin restored NO-mediated EDD (92±2%) to levels of Y. Acute ex vivo administration of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic TEMPOL normalized EDD in O control mice (93±3%), but had no effect in Y control or O curcumin treated animals. O had greater arterial nitrotyrosine abundance, superoxide production and NADPH oxidase p67 subunit expression, and lower manganese SOD (all P<0.05), all of which were reversed with curcumin. Curcumin had no effects on Y. Curcumin supplementation ameliorates age-associated large elastic artery stiffening, NO-mediated vascular endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and increases in collagen and AGEs in mice. Curcumin may be a novel therapy for treating arterial aging in humans.
    Experimental gerontology 11/2012; · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that sodium nitrite treatment reverses large elastic artery stiffening in old mice via reductions in collagen I, increases in elastin and/or decreases in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) mediated by reduced oxidative stress. Aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), a measure of large elastic artery stiffness, was greater in old (26-28months) compared with young (4-6months) control animals (520±9 vs. 405±6cm/s, p<0.05), and this was reversed by 3weeks of sodium nitrite treatment (50mg/L) (435±17cm/s). Age-related increases (p<0.05) in aortic superoxide production were associated with greater total and adventitial nitrotyrosine staining, all of which were reversed by nitrite treatment. Total and adventitial transforming growth factor β and collagen I were increased, and total and medial elastin were reduced with aging (p<0.05), but were unaffected by sodium nitrite. Aorta from old mice had increased total, adventitial and medial AGEs (p<0.05 vs. young), which were normalized by sodium nitrite treatment. In aortic segments from young mice in vitro, pyrogallol (10μM), a superoxide generator, induced an "aging-like" increase in AGEs, and direct treatment with AGEs induced vascular stiffening; these effects were prevented by incubation with sodium nitrite. De-stiffening of aged large elastic arteries by short-term sodium nitrite therapy is mediated in part by normalization of AGEs secondary to amelioration of oxidative stress.
    Experimental gerontology 05/2012; 47(8):588-94. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thickening of the intimal layer of arteries characterized by expression of smooth muscle α-actin (SMαA), collagen deposition, and inflammation is an important pathophysiological change with aging assumed to be mediated by smooth muscle cells migrating from the medial layer. We tested the novel hypothesis that these characteristics could also reflect an endothelial-mesenchymal (smooth muscle-like) transition (EnMT). Late ('old') compared with early ('young') passage (45.0 ± 1.2 vs. 27.1 ± 0.5 population doublings) human aortic endothelial cells demonstrated greater smooth muscle (spindle) morphological changes, expression of SMαA and collagen I, nuclear factor-κB activation, and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) (all p < 0.05). Based on increases in SMαA, stimulation with the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α, but not with TGF-β, induced EnMT in early passage cells similar to that observed in late passage cells. Here, we present the first evidence for EnMT induced in a model of endothelial cell aging and provide support for proinflammatory signaling in mediating this phenotypic change.
    Journal of Vascular Research 01/2012; 49(1):59-64. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To test the hypothesis that the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic TEMPOL improves arterial aging, young (Y, 4-6 months) and old (O, 26-28 months) male C57BL6 mice received regular or TEMPOL-supplemented (1mM) drinking water for 3 weeks (n = 8 per group). Aortic superoxide was 65% greater in O (P < 0.05 vs. Y), which was normalized by TEMPOL. O had large elastic artery stiffening, as indicated by greater aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV, 508 ± 22 vs. 418 ± 22 AU), which was associated with increased adventitial collagen I expression (P < 0.05 vs. Y). TEMPOL reversed the age-associated increases in aPWV (434 ± 21 AU) and collagen in vivo, and SOD reversed the increases in collagen I in adventitial fibroblasts from older rats in vitro. Isolated carotid arteries of O had impaired endothelial function as indicated by reduced acetylcholine-stimulated endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) (75.6 ± 3.2 vs. 94.5 ± 2.0%) mediated by reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability (L-NAME) associated with decreased endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expression (P < 0.05 vs. Y). TEMPOL restored EDD (94.5 ± 1.4%), NO bioavailability and eNOS in O. Nitrotyrosine and expression of NADPH oxidase were ~100-200% greater, and MnSOD was ~75% lower in O (P < 0.05 vs. Y). TEMPOL normalized nitrotyrosine and NADPH oxidase in O, without affecting MnSOD. Aortic pro-inflammatory cytokines were greater in O (P < 0.05 vs. Y) and normalized by TEMPOL. Short-term treatment of excessive superoxide with TEMPOL ameliorates large elastic artery stiffening and endothelial dysfunction with aging, and this is associated with normalization of arterial collagen I, eNOS, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
    Aging cell 12/2011; 11(2):269-76. · 7.55 Impact Factor
  • Nitric Oxide-biology and Chemistry - NITRIC OXIDE-BIOL CHEM. 01/2011; 24.
  • Nitric Oxide-biology and Chemistry - NITRIC OXIDE-BIOL CHEM. 01/2011; 24.
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that short-term nitrite therapy reverses vascular endothelial dysfunction and large elastic artery stiffening with aging, and reduces arterial oxidative stress and inflammation. Nitrite concentrations were lower (P < 0.05) in arteries, heart, and plasma of old (26-28 month) male C57BL6 control mice, and 3 weeks of sodium nitrite (50 mg L(-1) in drinking water) restored nitrite levels to or above young (4-6 month) controls. Isolated carotid arteries of old control mice had lower acetylcholine (ACh)-induced endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) (71.7 ± 6.1% vs. 93.0 ± 2.0%) mediated by reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability (P < 0.05 vs. young), and sodium nitrite restored EDD (95.5 ± 1.6%) by increasing NO bioavailability. 4-Hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine 1-oxyl (TEMPOL), a superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic, apocynin, a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase (NADPH) inhibitor, and sepiapterin (exogenous tetrahydrobiopterin) each restored EDD to ACh in old control, but had no effect in old nitrite-supplemented mice. Old control mice had increased aortic pulse wave velocity (478 ± 16 vs. 332 ± 12 AU, P < 0.05 vs. young), which nitrite supplementation lowered (384 ± 27 AU). Nitrotyrosine, superoxide production, and expression of NADPH oxidase were ∼100-300% greater and SOD activity was ∼50% lower in old control mice (all P < 0.05 vs. young), but were ameliorated by sodium nitrite treatment. Inflammatory cytokines were markedly increased in old control mice (P < 0.05), but reduced to levels of young controls with nitrite supplementation. Short-term nitrite therapy reverses age-associated vascular endothelial dysfunction, large elastic artery stiffness, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Sodium nitrite may be a novel therapy for treating arterial aging in humans.
    Aging cell 01/2011; 10(3):429-37. · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that carotid artery stiffening with ageing is associated with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-related increases in adventitial collagen and reductions in medial elastin, which would be reversed by voluntary aerobic exercise. Ex vivo carotid artery incremental stiffness was greater in old (29–32 months, n = 11) vs. young (4–7 months, n = 8) cage control B6D2F1 mice (8.84 ± 1.80 vs. 4.54 ± 1.18 AU, P < 0.05), and was associated with selective increases in collagen I and III and TGF-β1 protein expression in the adventitia (P < 0.05), related to an increase in smooth muscle α-actin (SMαA) (myofibroblast phenotype) (P < 0.05). In cultured adventitial fibroblasts, TGF-β1 induced increases in superoxide and collagen I protein (P < 0.05), which were inhibited by Tempol, a superoxide dismutase. Medial elastin was reduced with ageing, accompanied by decreases in the pro-synthetic elastin enzyme, lysyl oxidase, and increases in the elastin-degrading enzyme, matrix metalloproteinase 2. Fibronectin was unchanged with ageing, but there was a small increase in calcification (P < 0.05). Increased incremental stiffness in old mice was completely reversed (3.98 ± 0.34 AU, n = 5) by 10–14 weeks of modest voluntary wheel running (1.13 ± 0.29 km day−1), whereas greater voluntary wheel running (10.62 ± 0.49 km day−1) had no effect on young mice. The amelioration of carotid artery stiffness by wheel running in old mice was associated with reductions in collagen I and III and TGF-β1, partial reversal of the myofibroblast phenotype (reduced SMαA) and reduced calcification (all P < 0.05 vs. old controls), whereas elastin and its modulating enzymes were unaffected. Adventitial TGF-β1-related oxidative stress may play a key role in collagen deposition and large elastic artery stiffening with ageing and the efficacious effects of voluntary aerobic exercise.
    The Journal of Physiology 10/2010; 588(Pt 20):3971-82. · 4.38 Impact Factor