Purpose: Little is known about the molecular interactions among inflammatory responses that damage venous endothelial cells (vECs) during venous-to-arterial flow transition in vein graft diseases. Because arterial flow triggers excessive autophagy and inflammation in vECs, this study aimed to investigate the mediator of inflammation and methods to prevent vEC damage. Methods: Arterial laminar shear stress (ALSS; 12 dynes/cm2) was applied to vECs via in vitro and ex vivo perfusion systems. Inflammation in vECs was measured using inflammatory protein markers, NFκB translocation, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and COX-2 and NFκB promoter assays. The involvement of microRNA-4488 (miR-4488) was measured and confirmed by altering the specific miR using a miR-4488 mimic or inhibitor. The potential anti-inflammatory drugs and/or nitric oxide (NO) donor l-arginine (L-Arg) to prevent damage to vECs under ALSS was investigated. Results: ALSS triggered reactive oxygen species production, excessive autophagy, COX-2 protein expression, and NFκB translocation during vEC inflammation. Reduction in miR-4488 expression was detected in inflamed vECs treated with LPS, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) TNFα, and ALSS. Transfection of miR-4488 mimic (50 nM) prior to ALSS application inhibited the accumulation of inflammatory proteins as well as the translocation of NFκB. Combined treatment of vECs with COX-2-specific inhibitor (SC-236) and L-Arg alleviated the ALSS-induced inflammatory responses. Protective effects of the combined treatment on vECs against ALSS-induced damage were abolished by the application of miR-4488 inhibitor. Conclusion: We showed that ALSS triggered the COX-2/NFκB pathway to induce vEC inflammation with a reduction in miR-4488. Combination of SC-236 and L-Arg prevented ALSS-induced vEC damage, thus, shows high potential for preventing vein graft diseases.
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