[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelium expresses both the estrogen receptors (ERs) α and β, and ERα mediates development of early atherosclerosis in male mice. This process is thought to be testosterone-dependent. We hypothesized that male murine aortic endothelium produces robust levels of estradiol by aromatase conversion of testosterone, and that regulation of this process is mediated by the presence of ERs, primarily ERα. Aortic endothelium was isolated from ERα knockout (ERα -/-) and wild-type (ERα +/+) male mice and treated with testosterone or the 5α reduction product dihydrotestosterone (DHT), with or without the P450 aromatase inhibitor anastrazole, or a non-specific estrogen receptor antagonist. Aromatase gene expression and estradiol production were assayed. Treatment with testosterone, but not DHT, caused increased aromatase expression and estradiol production in ERα +/+ endothelium that was attenuated by disruption of ERα in the ERα -/- group. Anastrazole inhibition of aromatase reduced testosterone-induced aromatase expression and estradiol levels in both ERα -/- and ERα +/+ endothelium. Antagonism of both ERs decreased testosterone-induced aromatase expression in both wild-type and knockout groups. The effects of the receptor antagonist on estradiol production differed between the two groups, however, with a reduction in estradiol release from the ERα +/+ cells and complete abolition of estradiol release from the ERα -/- cells. Thus, estradiol production in vascular endothelium from male mice is robust, depends on the aromatic conversion of testosterone and requires functional ERα to achieve maximal levels of estradiol generation. Local vascular production of aromatase-mediated estradiol in response to circulating testosterone may affect ERα-dependent mechanisms to increase susceptibility to early atheroma formation in male mice. This pathway may have important therapeutic relevance for reducing the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in human males.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postprandial lipemia is characterized by a transient increase in circulating triglyceride-rich lipoproteins such as very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and has been shown to activate monocytes in vivo. Lipolysis of VLDL releases remnant particles, phospholipids, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and fatty acids in close proximity to endothelial cells and monocytes. We hypothesized that postprandial VLDL lipolysis products could activate and recruit monocytes by increasing monocyte expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules, and that such activation is related to the development of lipid droplets. Freshly isolated human monocytes were treated with VLDL lipolysis products (2.28 mmol/l TG + 2 U/mL lipoprotein lipase), and monocyte adhesion to a primed endothelial monolayer was observed using a parallel plate flow chamber coupled with a CCD camera. Treated monocytes showed more rolling and adhesion than controls, and an increase in transmigration between endothelial cells. The increased adhesive events were related to elevated expression of key integrin complexes including Mac-1 (CD11b/CD18), CR4 (CD11c/CD18) and VLA-4 (CD49d/CD29) on treated monocytes. Treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and THP-1 monocytes with VLDL lipolysis products increased expression of TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-8 over controls, with concurrent activation of NFkB and AP-1. NFκB and AP-1-induced cytokine and integrin expression was dependent on ERK and Akt phosphorylation. Additionally, fatty acids from VLDL lipolysis products induced ERK2-dependent lipid droplet formation in monocytes, suggesting a link to inflammatory signaling pathways. These results provide novel mechanisms for postprandial monocyte activation by VLDL lipolysis products, suggesting new pathways and biomarkers for chronic, intermittent vascular injury.
AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 10/2013; · 3.63 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the primary neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of extracellular amyloid plaques resulting from the aggregation of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides. The intrinsic disorder of the Aβ peptide drives self-association and progressive re-ordering of the conformation in solution, and this dynamic distribution of Aβ complicates biophysical studies. This property poses a challenge for understanding the interaction of Aβ with apolipoprotein E (apoE). ApoE plays a pivotal role in the aggregation and clearance of Aβ peptides in the brain, and the ε4 allele of APOE is the most significant known genetic modulator of Alzheimer's risk. Understanding the interaction between apoE and Aβ will provide insight into the mechanism by which different apoE isoforms determine Alzheimer's disease risk. Here we applied alternating laser excitation fluorescence cross correlation spectroscopy to observe the single molecule interaction of Aβ with apoE in the hydrated state. The diffusion time of freely diffusing Aβ in the absence of apoE shows significant self-aggregation, whereas in the presence of apoE, binding of the protein results in a more stable complex. These results show that apoE slows down the oligomerization of Aβ in solution, and provide direct insight into the process by which apoE influences the deposition and clearance of Aβ peptides in the brain. Furthermore, by developing an approach to remove signals arising from very large Aβ aggregates, we show that real-time single particle observations provide access to information regarding the fraction of apoE bound and the stoichiometry of apoE and Aβ in the complex.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postprandial hyperlipemia, characterized by increased circulating very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and circulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS), has been proposed as a mechanism of vascular injury. Our goal was to examine the interactions between postprandial lipoproteins, LPS, and apoE3 and apoE4 on monocyte activation.
We showed that apoE3 complexed to phospholipid vesicles attenuates LPS-induced THP-1 monocyte cytokine expression, while apoE4 increases expression. ELISA revealed that apoE3 binds to LPS with higher affinity than apoE4. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of site-directed spin labels placed on specific amino acids of apoE3 showed that LPS interferes with conformational changes normally associated with lipid binding. Specifically, compared to apoE4, apoE bearing the E3-like R112→Ser mutation displays increased self association when exposed to LPS, consistent with a stronger apoE3-LPS interaction. Additionally, lipolysis of fasting VLDL from normal human donors attenuated LPS-induced TNFα secretion from monocytes to a greater extent than postprandial VLDL, an effect partially reversed by blocking apoE. This effect was reproduced using fasting VLDL lipolysis products from e3/e3 donors, but not from e4/e4 subjects, suggesting that apoE3 on fasting VLDL prevents LPS-induced inflammation more readily than apoE4.
Postprandial apoE isoform and conformational changes associated with VLDL dramatically modulate vascular inflammation.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e50513. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The deposition and oligomerization of amyloid β (Aβ) peptide plays a key role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ peptide arises from cleavage of the membrane-associated domain of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β and γ secretases. Several lines of evidence point to the soluble Aβ oligomer (AβO) as the primary neurotoxic species in the etiology of AD. Recently, we have demonstrated that a class of fluorene molecules specifically disrupts the AβO species.
To achieve a better understanding of the mechanism of action of this disruptive ability, we extend the application of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of site-directed spin labels in the Aβ peptide to investigate the binding and influence of fluorene compounds on AβO structure and dynamics. In addition, we have synthesized a spin-labeled fluorene (SLF) containing a pyrroline nitroxide group that provides both increased cell protection against AβO toxicity and a route to directly observe the binding of the fluorene to the AβO assembly. We also evaluate the ability of fluorenes to target multiple pathological processes involved in the neurodegenerative cascade, such as their ability to block AβO toxicity, scavenge free radicals and diminish the formation of intracellular AβO species.
Fluorene modified with pyrroline nitroxide may be especially useful in counteracting Aβ peptide toxicity, because they possess both antioxidant properties and the ability to disrupt AβO species.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35443. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AD (Alzheimer's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of unknown origin. Despite questions as to the underlying cause(s) of this disease, shared risk factors for both AD and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease indicate that vascular mechanisms may critically contribute to the development and progression of both AD and atherosclerosis. An increased risk of developing AD is linked to the presence of the apoE4 (apolipoprotein E4) allele, which is also strongly associated with increased risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Recent studies also indicate that cardiovascular risk factors, including elevated blood cholesterol and triacylglycerol (triglyceride), increase the likelihood of AD and vascular dementia. Lipids and lipoproteins in the circulation interact intimately with the cerebrovasculature, and may have important effects on its constituent brain microvascular endothelial cells and the adjoining astrocytes, which are components of the neurovascular unit. The present review will examine the potential mechanisms for understanding the contributions of vascular factors, including lipids, lipoproteins and cerebrovascular Abeta (amyloid beta), to AD, and suggest therapeutic strategies for the attenuation of this devastating disease process. Specifically, we will focus on the actions of apoE, TGRLs (triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins) and TGRL lipolysis products on injury of the neurovascular unit and increases in blood-brain barrier permeability.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and is a precursor for both androgens and estrogens. Atherosclerosis is a well characterized inflammatory disease, but little is known about the role of DHEAS in vascular inflammation. We hypothesize that DHEAS can reduce inflammation in vascular endothelial cells and the mechanism involves the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha), thereby inhibiting transcription factors involved in endothelial cell inflammation. To test our hypothesis, aortic endothelial cells were pretreated for 48 h with DHEAS, then with TNF-alpha. TNF-alpha-induced upregulation of the expression of inflammatory genes interleukin (IL)-8 and intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 was attenuated by incubation with DHEAS. DHEAS inhibited the TNF-alpha-induced surface expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1. This effect was abolished by the addition of MK866, a PPARalpha inhibitor, indicating that PPARalpha is involved in the mechanism of this inhibition. The addition of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole had no effect on the inhibition of TNF-alpha-induced VCAM-1 expression by DHEAS. Treatment of endothelial cells with DHEAS dramatically inhibited the TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappaB, an inflammatory transcription factor, and increased protein levels of the NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaB-alpha. These results signify the ability of DHEAS to directly inhibit the inflammatory process and show a potential direct effect of DHEAS on vascular inflammation that has implications for the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.