Targeting vascular smooth muscle cell dysfunction with xanthine derivative KMUP-3 inhibits abdominal aortic aneurysm in mice

Chao Han Lai, Ching Wen Chang, Fang Tzu Lee, Cheng Hsiang Kuo, Jong Hau Hsu, Chung Pin Liu, Hua Lin Wu, Jwu Lai Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalAtherosclerosis
Volume297
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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