Drebrin attenuates atherosclerosis by limiting smooth muscle cell transdifferentiation.
AIMS: The F-actin-binding protein Drebrin inhibits smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration, proliferation, and pro-inflammatory signalling. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that Drebrin constrains atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: SM22-Cre+/Dbnflox/flox/Ldlr-/- (SMC-Dbn-/-/Ldlr-/-) and control mice (SM22-Cre+/Ldlr-/-, Dbnflox/flox/Ldlr-/-, and Ldlr-/-) were fed a western diet for 14-20 weeks. Brachiocephalic arteries of SMC-Dbn -/-/Ldlr-/- mice exhibited 1.5- or 1.8-fold greater cross-sectional lesion area than control mice at 14 or 20 weeks, respectively. Aortic atherosclerotic lesion surface area was 1.2-fold greater in SMC-Dbn-/-/Ldlr-/- mice. SMC-Dbn-/-/Ldlr-/- lesions comprised necrotic cores that were two-fold greater in size than those of control mice. Consistent with their bigger necrotic core size, lesions in SMC-Dbn-/- arteries also showed more transdifferentiation of SMCs to macrophage-like cells: 1.5- to 2.5-fold greater, assessed with BODIPY or with CD68, respectively. In vitro data were concordant: Dbn-/- SMCs had 1.7-fold higher levels of KLF4 and transdifferentiated to macrophage-like cells more readily than Dbnflox/flox SMCs upon cholesterol loading, as evidenced by greater up-regulation of CD68 and galectin-3. Adenovirally mediated Drebrin rescue produced equivalent levels of macrophage-like transdifferentiation in Dbn-/- and Dbnflox/flox SMCs. During early atherogenesis, SMC-Dbn-/-/Ldlr-/- aortas demonstrated 1.6-fold higher levels of reactive oxygen species than control mouse aortas. The 1.8-fold higher levels of Nox1 in Dbn-/- SMCs were reduced to WT levels with KLF4 silencing. Inhibition of Nox1 chemically or with siRNA produced equivalent levels of macrophage-like transdifferentiation in Dbn-/- and Dbnflox/flox SMCs. CONCLUSION: We conclude that SMC Drebrin limits atherosclerosis by constraining SMC Nox1 activity and SMC transdifferentiation to macrophage-like cells.
Wu, J-H; Zhang, L; Nepliouev, I; Brian, L; Huang, T; Snow, KP; Schickling, BM; Hauser, ER; Miller, FJ; Freedman, NJ; Stiber, JA
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