Background and aims: Inflammation, oxidative stress, matrix degradation, medial calcification and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) loss are prominent features in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). VSMC phenotypic switch to a proinflammatory state and VSMC apoptosis could be targetable mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of AAA formation. Herein, we investigated the hypothesis that a xanthine derivative (KMUP-3) might suppress AAA through inhibition of VSMC phenotypic switch and apoptosis. Methods: In vitro, VSMC calcification was induced using β-glycerophosphate. In vivo, AAA was induced using angiotensin II (1000 ng/kg per minute) infusion for 4 weeks in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Results: As determined by alizarin red S staining and calcium content measurements, KMUP-3 suppressed VSMC calcification. During VSMC calcification, KMUP-3 inhibited mTOR and β-catenin upregulation, essential for VSMC phenotypic switch, while it enhanced AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation that protects against VSMC phenotypic switch. Moreover, KMUP-3 attenuated VSMC apoptosis with an increased Bcl-2/Bax ratio and reduced activated caspase-3 expression. During AAA formation, treatment with KMUP-3 inhibited phosphorylated mTOR expression and increased phosphorylated AMPK expression in the medial layer. In addition, KMUP-3 treatment suppressed aortic dilatation together with reduction in proinflammatory cytokines and infiltrating macrophages, attenuation of medial VSMC apoptosis and mitigation of reactive oxygen species generation, matrix-degrading proteinase activities, elastin breakdown and vascular calcification. Conclusions: Treatment with KMUP-3 inhibits aneurysm growth possibly through its interference with signaling pathways involved in VSMC phenotypic switch and apoptosis. These findings provide a proof-of-concept validation for VSMC dysfunction as a potential therapeutic target in AAA.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Mar|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine