Special Issue "Cells in Cardiovascular Disease"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Cellular Pathology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020) | Viewed by 50120

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pablo García De Frutos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Cell Death and Proliferation, Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), and Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Roselló 161 6p - 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: hemostasis; vitamin K-dependent proteins; GAS6 and ProS; receptor tyrosine kinases; cardiovascular pathology; liver diseases
Prof. José Martínez-González
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), CIBER de Enfermedades Cardiovasculares, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Interests: cardiovascular disease; abdominal aortic aneurysm; atherosclerosis; nuclear receptors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advances in the molecular characterization of tissues have provided unique insights into the response to injury and the adaptation of cells to disease processes. In this context, cardiovascular research has witnessed how the role of several cell types that make up the heart, vessels, and blood was unveiled in recent years to a minute detail. This has allowed revealing the plasticity of certain cell types, new cellular interactions and interconnections, as well as surprising cellular functions in certain pathophysiological settings.

The endothelium is crucial in regulating cellular traffic and plays an essential role in many cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Endothelial damage is paramount for platelet and coagulation activation, the ultimate cause of thrombosis, leading to myocardial infarction. The concept of atherosclerosis—the primary cause of coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease—as a chronic inflammatory disease was recognized early. At present, the essential role of inflammatory and immune cells in the development and progression of many CVDs, from plaque progression and vulnerability to cardiac remodeling, aortic aneurysm, valvular disease or atrial fibrillation, is widely accepted. At the same time, the interplay of resident cells, as cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts, with blood cells and blood-derived cellular components in CVD, have been better understood and found critical for tissue healing and regeneration.

The present Special Issue aims to summarize some of the newest advances in cellular biology in CVD. We aim to highlight the key involvement of resident and infiltrated cells in the pathophysiology of CVD, including reviews focused on specific cell types. On the other hand, we want to examine the cellular mechanisms that lie behind the processes of repair and recovery of functionality after tissue damage in the context of CVD.

Dr. Pablo García De Frutos
Prof. José Martínez-González
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cardiovascular system
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cardiac remodeling
  • cardiac hypertrophy
  • cardiac regeneration
  • heart failure
  • atrial fibrillation
  • myocarditis
  • atherosclerosis
  • thrombosis
  • cardiomyocytes
  • (myo)fibroblasts
  • endothelium
  • vascular smooth muscle cells
  • macrophages
  • regulatory T cells
  • platelets

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Cells in Cardiovascular Disease: Using Diversity to Confront Adversity
Cells 2020, 9(10), 2192; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9102192 - 29 Sep 2020
Viewed by 863
Abstract
The present Special Issue on “Cells in Cardiovascular Disease” wants to offer a general overview of current cardiovascular research and illustrate how advances in the molecular characterization at the cellular level are providing unique insights into pathologies of the circulatory system [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)

Research

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Article
Deletion or Inhibition of NOD1 Favors Plaque Stability and Attenuates Atherothrombosis in Advanced Atherogenesis
Cells 2020, 9(9), 2067; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9092067 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Atherothrombosis, the main cause of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), is characterized by the rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque followed by the formation of thrombi. Fatal plaque rupture sites show large necrotic cores combined with high levels of inflammation and thin layers of collagen. [...] Read more.
Atherothrombosis, the main cause of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), is characterized by the rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque followed by the formation of thrombi. Fatal plaque rupture sites show large necrotic cores combined with high levels of inflammation and thin layers of collagen. Plaque necrosis due to the death of macrophages and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) remains critical in the process. To determine the contribution of the innate immunity receptor NOD1 to the stability of atherosclerotic plaque, Apoe−/− and Apoe−/− Nod1−/− atherosclerosis prone mice were placed on a high-fat diet for 16 weeks to assess post-mortem advanced atherosclerosis in the aortic sinus. The proliferation and apoptosis activity were analyzed, as well as the foam cell formation capacity in these lesions and in primary cultures of macrophages and vascular SMCs obtained from both groups of mice. Our results reinforce the preeminent role for NOD1 in human atherosclerosis. Advanced plaque analysis in the Apoe−/− atherosclerosis model suggests that NOD1 deficiency may decrease the risk of atherothrombosis by decreasing leukocyte infiltration and reducing macrophage apoptosis. Furthermore, Nod1−/− SMCs exhibit higher proliferation rates and decreased apoptotic activity, contributing to thicker fibrous caps with reduced content of pro-thrombotic collagen. These findings demonstrate a direct link between NOD1 and plaque vulnerability through effects on both macrophages and SMCs, suggesting promising insights for early detection of biomarkers for treating patients before ACS occurs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Antibody-Mediated Inhibition of CTLA4 Aggravates Atherosclerotic Plaque Inflammation and Progression in Hyperlipidemic Mice
Cells 2020, 9(9), 1987; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9091987 - 29 Aug 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
T cell-driven inflammation plays a critical role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. The co-inhibitory protein Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Associated protein (CTLA) 4 is an important negative regulator of T cell activation. Here, we studied the effects of the antibody-mediated inhibition of CTLA4 [...] Read more.
T cell-driven inflammation plays a critical role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. The co-inhibitory protein Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Associated protein (CTLA) 4 is an important negative regulator of T cell activation. Here, we studied the effects of the antibody-mediated inhibition of CTLA4 on experimental atherosclerosis by treating 6–8-week-old Ldlr−/− mice, fed a 0.15% cholesterol diet for six weeks, biweekly with 200 μg of CTLA4 antibodies or isotype control for six weeks. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography—Computed Tomography showed no effect of the CTLA4 inhibition of activity in the aorta, spleen, and bone marrow, indicating that monocyte/macrophage-driven inflammation was unaffected. Correspondingly, flow cytometry demonstrated that the antibody-mediated inhibition of CTLA4 did not affect the monocyte populations in the spleen. αCTLA4 treatment induced an activated T cell profile, characterized by a decrease in naïve CD44CD62L+CD4+ T cells and an increase in CD44+CD62L CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the blood and lymphoid organs. Furthermore, αCTLA4 treatment induced endothelial activation, characterized by increased ICAM1 expression in the aortic endothelium. In the aortic arch, which mainly contained early atherosclerotic lesions at this time point, αCTLA4 treatment induced a 2.0-fold increase in the plaque area. These plaques had a more advanced morphological phenotype and an increased T cell/macrophage ratio, whereas the smooth muscle cell and collagen content decreased. In the aortic root, a site that contained more advanced plaques, αCTLA4 treatment increased the plaque T cell content. The short-term antibody-mediated inhibition of CTLA4 thus accelerated the progression of atherosclerosis by inducing a predominantly T cell-driven inflammation, and resulted in the formation of plaques with larger necrotic cores and less collagen. This indicates that existing therapies that are based on αCTLA4 antibodies may promote CVD development in patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Soluble St2 Induces Cardiac Fibroblast Activation and Collagen Synthesis via Neuropilin-1
Cells 2020, 9(7), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9071667 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Circulating levels of soluble interleukin 1 receptor-like 1 (sST2) are increased in heart failure and associated with poor outcome, likely because of the activation of inflammation and fibrosis. We investigated the pathogenic role of sST2 as an inductor of cardiac fibroblasts activation and [...] Read more.
Circulating levels of soluble interleukin 1 receptor-like 1 (sST2) are increased in heart failure and associated with poor outcome, likely because of the activation of inflammation and fibrosis. We investigated the pathogenic role of sST2 as an inductor of cardiac fibroblasts activation and collagen synthesis. The effects of sST2 on human cardiac fibroblasts was assessed using proteomics and immunodetection approaches to evidence the upregulation of neuropilin-1 (NRP-1), a regulator of the profibrotic transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1. In parallel, sST2 increased fibroblast activation, collagen and fibrosis mediators. Pharmacological inhibition of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) restored NRP-1 levels and blocked profibrotic effects induced by sST2. In NRP-1 knockdown cells, sST2 failed to induce fibroblast activation and collagen synthesis. Exogenous NRP-1 enhanced cardiac fibroblast activation and collagen synthesis via NF-κB. In a pressure overload rat model, sST2 was elevated in association with cardiac fibrosis and was positively correlated with NRP-1 expression. Our study shows that sST2 induces human cardiac fibroblasts activation, as well as the synthesis of collagen and profibrotic molecules. These effects are mediated by NRP-1. The blockade of NF-κB restored NRP-1 expression, improving the profibrotic status induced by sST2. These results show a new pathogenic role for sST2 and its mediator, NRP-1, as cardiac fibroblast activators contributing to cardiac fibrosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Sildenafil Recovers Burn-Induced Cardiomyopathy
Cells 2020, 9(6), 1393; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9061393 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1485
Abstract
Background: Severe burn injury initiates a feedback cycle of inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress and cardiac mitochondrial damage via the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway. Aim: To test if the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway may contribute to burn-induced heart dysfunction. Methods: Sprague–Dawley rats were divided four groups: sham; sham/sildenafil; [...] Read more.
Background: Severe burn injury initiates a feedback cycle of inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress and cardiac mitochondrial damage via the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway. Aim: To test if the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway may contribute to burn-induced heart dysfunction. Methods: Sprague–Dawley rats were divided four groups: sham; sham/sildenafil; 24 h post burn (60% total body surface area scald burn, harvested at 24 h post burn); and 24 h post burn/sildenafil. We monitored heart function and oxidative adducts, as well as cardiac inflammatory, cardiac fibrosis and cardiac remodeling responses in vivo. Results: Sildenafil inhibited the burn-induced PDE5A mRNA level and increased the cGMP level and PKG activity, leading to the normalization of PKG down-regulated genes (IRAG, PLB, RGS2, RhoA and MYTP), a decreased ROS level (H2O2), decreased oxidatively modified adducts (malonyldialdehyde [MDA], carbonyls), attenuated fibrogenesis as well as fibrosis gene expression (ANP, BNP, COL1A2, COL3A2, αSMA and αsk-Actin), and reduced inflammation and related gene expression (RELA, IL-18 and TGF-β) after the burn. Additionally, sildenafil treatment preserved left ventricular heart function (CO, EF, SV, LVvol at systolic, LVPW at diastolic and FS) and recovered the oxidant/antioxidant balance (total antioxidant, total SOD activity and Cu,ZnSOD activity). Conclusions: The PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway mediates burn-induced heart dysfunction. Sildenafil treatment recovers burn-induced cardiac dysfunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Potential Role of Circulating Endoglin in Hypertension via the Upregulated Expression of BMP4
Cells 2020, 9(4), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040988 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1590
Abstract
Endoglin is a membrane glycoprotein primarily expressed by the vascular endothelium and involved in cardiovascular diseases. Upon the proteolytic processing of the membrane-bound protein, a circulating form of endoglin (soluble endoglin, sEng) can be released, and high levels of sEng have been observed [...] Read more.
Endoglin is a membrane glycoprotein primarily expressed by the vascular endothelium and involved in cardiovascular diseases. Upon the proteolytic processing of the membrane-bound protein, a circulating form of endoglin (soluble endoglin, sEng) can be released, and high levels of sEng have been observed in several endothelial-related pathological conditions, where it appears to contribute to endothelial dysfunction. Preeclampsia is a multisystem disorder of high prevalence in pregnant women characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and associated with increased levels of sEng. Although a pathogenic role for sEng involving hypertension has been reported in several animal models of preeclampsia, the exact molecular mechanisms implicated remain to be identified. To search for sEng-induced mediators of hypertension, we analyzed the protein secretome of human endothelial cells in the presence of sEng. We found that sEng induces the expression of BMP4 in endothelial cells, as evidenced by their proteomic signature, gene transcript levels, and BMP4 promoter activity. A mouse model of preeclampsia with high sEng plasma levels (sEng+) showed increased transcript levels of BMP4 in lungs, stomach, and duodenum, and increased circulating levels of BMP4, compared to those of control animals. In addition, after crossing female wild type with male sEng+ mice, hypertension appeared 18 days after mating, coinciding with the appearance of high plasma levels of BMP4. Also, serum levels of sEng and BMP4 were positively correlated in pregnant women with and without preeclampsia. Interestingly, sEng-induced arterial pressure elevation in sEng+ mice was abolished in the presence of the BMP4 inhibitor noggin, suggesting that BMP4 is a downstream mediator of sEng. These results provide a better understanding on the role of sEng in the physiopathology of preeclampsia and other cardiovascular diseases, where sEng levels are increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Transplantation of Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Obese Diabetic Rats Following Myocardial Infarction: Role of Thymosin Beta-4
Cells 2020, 9(4), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040949 - 12 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1328
Abstract
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are bone-marrow derived cells that are critical in the maintenance of endothelial wall integrity and protection of ischemic myocardium through the formation of new blood vessels (vasculogenesis) or proliferation of pre-existing vasculature (angiogenesis). Diabetes mellitus (DM) and the metabolic [...] Read more.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are bone-marrow derived cells that are critical in the maintenance of endothelial wall integrity and protection of ischemic myocardium through the formation of new blood vessels (vasculogenesis) or proliferation of pre-existing vasculature (angiogenesis). Diabetes mellitus (DM) and the metabolic syndrome are commonly associated with ischemic heart disease through its pathological effects on the endothelium and consequent endothelial dysfunction. Thymosin-β4 (Tβ4) which expressed in the embryonic heart is critical in epicardial and coronary artery formation. In this study, we explored the effects of Tβ4 treatment on diabetic EPCs in vitro and intramyocardial injection of Tβ4-treated and non-Tβ4 treated EPCs following acute myocardial infarction (MI) of diabetic rats in vivo. It was found that 10 ng/mL Tβ4 increased migration, tubule formation, and angiogenic factor secretion of diabetic EPCs in vitro. In vivo, although implantation of Tβ4 treated diabetic EPCs significantly increased capillary density and attracted more c-Kit positive progenitor cells into the infarcted hearts as compared with implantation of non-Tβ4 treated diabetic EPCs, the significantly improved left ventricular ejection fraction was only found in the rats which received non-Tβ4 treated EPCs. The data suggests that a low dose Tβ4 increases diabetic EPC migration, tubule formation, and angiogenic factor secretion. However, it did not improve the effects of EPCs on left ventricular pump function in diabetic rats with MI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Human Peripheral Blood-Derived Endothelial Colony-Forming Cells Are Highly Similar to Mature Vascular Endothelial Cells yet Demonstrate a Transitional Transcriptomic Signature
Cells 2020, 9(4), 876; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040876 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1794
Abstract
Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFC) are currently considered as a promising cell population for the pre-endothelialization or pre-vascularization of tissue-engineered constructs, including small-diameter biodegradable vascular grafts. However, the extent of heterogeneity between ECFC and mature vascular endothelial cells (EC) is unclear. Here, we performed [...] Read more.
Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFC) are currently considered as a promising cell population for the pre-endothelialization or pre-vascularization of tissue-engineered constructs, including small-diameter biodegradable vascular grafts. However, the extent of heterogeneity between ECFC and mature vascular endothelial cells (EC) is unclear. Here, we performed a transcriptome-wide study to compare gene expression profiles of ECFC, human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC), and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Characterization of the abovementioned cell populations was carried out by immunophenotyping, tube formation assay, and evaluation of proliferation capability while global gene expression profiling was conducted by means of RNA-seq. ECFC were similar to HUVEC in terms of immunophenotype (CD31+vWF+KDR+CD146+CD34-CD133-CD45-CD90-) and tube formation activity yet had expectedly higher proliferative potential. HCAEC and HUVEC were generally similar to ECFC with regards to their global gene expression profile; nevertheless, ECFC overexpressed specific markers of all endothelial lineages (NRP2, NOTCH4, LYVE1), in particular lymphatic EC (LYVE1), and had upregulated extracellular matrix and basement membrane genes (COL1A1, COL1A2, COL4A1, COL4A2). Proteomic profiling for endothelial lineage markers and angiogenic molecules generally confirmed RNA-seq results, indicating ECFC as an intermediate population between HCAEC and HUVEC. Therefore, gene expression profile and behavior of ECFC suggest their potential to be applied for a pre-endothelialization of bioartificial vascular grafts, whereas in terms of endothelial hierarchy they differ from HCAEC and HUVEC, having a transitional phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Sex-Specific Regulation of miR-29b in the Myocardium Under Pressure Overload is Associated with Differential Molecular, Structural and Functional Remodeling Patterns in Mice and Patients with Aortic Stenosis
Cells 2020, 9(4), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040833 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1698
Abstract
Pressure overload in patients with aortic stenosis (AS) induces an adverse remodeling of the left ventricle (LV) in a sex-specific manner. We assessed whether a sex-specific miR-29b dysregulation underlies this sex-biased remodeling pattern, as has been described in liver fibrosis. We studied mice [...] Read more.
Pressure overload in patients with aortic stenosis (AS) induces an adverse remodeling of the left ventricle (LV) in a sex-specific manner. We assessed whether a sex-specific miR-29b dysregulation underlies this sex-biased remodeling pattern, as has been described in liver fibrosis. We studied mice with transverse aortic constriction (TAC) and patients with AS. miR-29b was determined in the LV (mice, patients) and plasma (patients). Expression of remodeling-related markers and histological fibrosis were determined in mouse LV. Echocardiographic morpho-functional parameters were evaluated at baseline and post-TAC in mice, and preoperatively and 1 year after aortic valve replacement (AVR) in patients with AS. In mice, miR-29b LV regulation was opposite in TAC-males (down-regulation) and TAC-females (up-regulation). The subsequent changes in miR-29b targets (collagens and GSK-3β) revealed a remodeling pattern that was more fibrotic in males but more hypertrophic in females. Both systolic and diastolic cardiac functions deteriorated more in TAC-females, thus suggesting a detrimental role of miR-29b in females, but was protective in the LV under pressure overload in males. Clinically, miR-29b in controls and patients with AS reproduced most of the sexually dimorphic features observed in mice. In women with AS, the preoperative plasma expression of miR-29b paralleled the severity of hypertrophy and was a significant negative predictor of reverse remodeling after AVR; therefore, it may have potential value as a prognostic biomarker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Inhibition of Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Attenuates Phosphate-Induced Vascular Calcification
Cells 2020, 9(3), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030737 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Vascular calcification is the pathological deposition of calcium/phosphate in the vascular system and is closely associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Here, we investigated the role of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) in phosphate-induced vascular calcification and its potential regulatory mechanism. We found that the [...] Read more.
Vascular calcification is the pathological deposition of calcium/phosphate in the vascular system and is closely associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Here, we investigated the role of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) in phosphate-induced vascular calcification and its potential regulatory mechanism. We found that the silencing of GRP gene and treatment with the GRP receptor antagonist, RC-3095, attenuated the inorganic phosphate-induced calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). This attenuation was caused by inhibiting phenotype change, apoptosis and matrix vesicle release in VSMCs. Moreover, the treatment with RC-3095 effectively ameliorated phosphate-induced calcium deposition in rat aortas ex vivo and aortas of chronic kidney disease in mice in vivo. Therefore, the regulation of the GRP-GRP receptor axis may be a potential strategy for treatment of diseases associated with excessive vascular calcification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Effect of Lifestyle Intervention in the Concentration of Adipoquines and Branched Chain Amino Acids in Subjects with High Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes: Feel4Diabetes Study
Cells 2020, 9(3), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030693 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1395
Abstract
Introduction: The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing rapidly, especially in low- and middle-income countries and has a high number of associated comorbidities. Plasmatic concentrations of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) and retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) have been shown to [...] Read more.
Introduction: The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing rapidly, especially in low- and middle-income countries and has a high number of associated comorbidities. Plasmatic concentrations of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) and retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) have been shown to be elevated in T2D subjects in cross-sectional studies. However, the effect of lifestyle community-based interventions on BCAA and RBP4 concentrations has not yet been analyzed. Material and methods: The Feel4Diabetes study is a school and community-based intervention that identified 360 European families with a high risk of developing T2D according to the FINDRISC questionnaire. Families were randomized in control and intervention groups were followed-up from 2016 to 2018. In the Spanish families, the concentration of BCAA and RBP4 was determined in 266 subjects (115 control and 151 intervention group) that attended the three time-point assessments by colorimetric and ELISA reaction, respectively. Results: Baseline BCAA levels showed positive correlations with the FINDRISC score and glucose impairment (baseline glucose, insulin, and glycated hemoglobin), body mass index, and body weight. The participants receiving the community-based intervention showed a significant decrease in glycated hemoglobin and BCAA levels compared to the control group (p = 0.011 and p < 0.001, respectively). However, baseline RBP4 did not show significant correlations with anthropometric and glycemic parameters, and no significant change was observed in anthropometric parameters and RBP4 concentrations throughout the follow-up. Conclusion: A community-based intervention on lifestyle led to a significant reduction in BCAA levels regardless of weight loss. These findings suggest that this interventional approach could be promising in T2D prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell-Specific Progerin Expression Provokes Contractile Impairment in a Mouse Model of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome that Is Ameliorated by Nitrite Treatment
Cells 2020, 9(3), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030656 - 08 Mar 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1466
Abstract
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death worldwide, and aging is its leading risk factor. Aging is much accelerated in Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), an ultra-rare genetic disorder provoked by the ubiquitous expression of a mutant protein called progerin. HGPS patients [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death worldwide, and aging is its leading risk factor. Aging is much accelerated in Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), an ultra-rare genetic disorder provoked by the ubiquitous expression of a mutant protein called progerin. HGPS patients die in their teens, primarily due to cardiovascular complications. The primary causes of age-associated CVD are endothelial dysfunction and dysregulated vascular tone; however, their contribution to progerin-induced CVD remains poorly characterized. In the present study, we found that progeroid LmnaG609G/G609G mice with ubiquitous progerin expression show both endothelial dysfunction and severe contractile impairment. To assess the relative contribution of specific vascular cell types to these anomalies, we examined LmnaLCS/LCSTie2Cretg/+ and LmnaLCS/LCSSm22αCretg/+ mice, which express progerin specifically in endothelial cells (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), respectively. Whereas vessel contraction was impaired in mice with VSMC-specific progerin expression, we observed no endothelial dysfunction in mice with progerin expression restricted to VSMCs or ECs. Vascular tone regulation in progeroid mice was ameliorated by dietary sodium nitrite supplementation. Our results identify VSMCs as the main cell type causing contractile impairment in a mouse model of HGPS that is ameliorated by nitrite treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Induction of Cyclooxygenase-2 by Overexpression of the Human NADPH Oxidase 5 (NOX5) Gene in Aortic Endothelial Cells
Cells 2020, 9(3), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030637 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1170
Abstract
Oxidative stress is a main molecular mechanism that underlies cardiovascular diseases. A close relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from NADPH oxidase (NOX) activity and the prostaglandin (PG) biosynthesis pathway has been described. However, little information is available about the interaction between [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is a main molecular mechanism that underlies cardiovascular diseases. A close relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from NADPH oxidase (NOX) activity and the prostaglandin (PG) biosynthesis pathway has been described. However, little information is available about the interaction between NOX5 homolog-derived ROS and the PG pathway in the cardiovascular context. Our main goal was to characterize NOX5-derived ROS effects in PG homeostasis and their potential relevance in cardiovascular pathologies. For that purpose, two experimental systems were employed: an adenoviral NOX5-β overexpression model in immortalized human aortic endothelial cells (TeloHAEC) and a chronic infarction in vivo model developed from a conditional endothelial NOX5 knock-in mouse. NOX5 increased cyclooxygenase-2 isoform (COX-2) expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production through nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) in TeloHAEC. Protein kinase C (PKC) activation and intracellular calcium level (Ca++) mobilization increased ROS production and NOX5 overexpression, which promoted a COX-2/PGE2 response in vitro. In the chronic infarction model, mice encoding endothelial NOX5 enhanced the cardiac mRNA expression of COX-2 and PGES, suggesting a COX-2/PGE2 response to NOX5 presence in an ischemic situation. Our data support that NOX5-derived ROS may modulate the COX-2/PGE2 axis in endothelial cells, which might play a relevant role in the pathophysiology of heart infarction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Electronegative LDL Promotes Inflammation and Triglyceride Accumulation in Macrophages
Cells 2020, 9(3), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030583 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1863
Abstract
Electronegative low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (LDL(−)), a modified LDL that is present in blood and exerts atherogenic effects on endothelial cells and monocytes. This study aimed to determine the action of LDL(−) on monocytes differentiated into macrophages. LDL(−) and in vitro-modified LDLs (oxidized, aggregated, [...] Read more.
Electronegative low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (LDL(−)), a modified LDL that is present in blood and exerts atherogenic effects on endothelial cells and monocytes. This study aimed to determine the action of LDL(−) on monocytes differentiated into macrophages. LDL(−) and in vitro-modified LDLs (oxidized, aggregated, and acetylated) were added to macrophages derived from THP1 monocytes over-expressing CD14 (THP1-CD14). Then, cytokine release, cell differentiation, lipid accumulation, and gene expression were measured by ELISA, flow cytometry, thin-layer chromatography, and real-time PCR, respectively. LDL(−) induced more cytokine release in THP1-CD14 macrophages than other modified LDLs. LDL(−) also promoted morphological changes ascribed to differentiated macrophages. The addition of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and anti-TLR4 counteracted these effects. LDL(−) was highly internalized by macrophages, and it was the major inductor of intracellular lipid accumulation in triglyceride-enriched lipid droplets. In contrast to inflammation, the addition of anti-TLR4 had no effect on lipid accumulation, thus suggesting an uptake pathway alternative to TLR4. In this regard, LDL(−) upregulated the expression of the scavenger receptors CD36 and LOX-1, as well as several genes involved in triglyceride (TG) accumulation. The importance and novelty of the current study is that LDL(−), a physiologically modified LDL, exerted atherogenic effects in macrophages by promoting differentiation, inflammation, and triglyceride-enriched lipid droplets formation in THP1-CD14 macrophages, probably through different receptors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Alterations in Glucose Metabolism During the Transition to Heart Failure: The Contribution of UCP-2
Cells 2020, 9(3), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9030552 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1304
Abstract
The cardiac expression of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP)-2 is increased in patients with heart failure. However, the underlying causes as well as the possible consequences of these alterations during the transition from hypertrophy to heart failure are still unclear. To investigate the [...] Read more.
The cardiac expression of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP)-2 is increased in patients with heart failure. However, the underlying causes as well as the possible consequences of these alterations during the transition from hypertrophy to heart failure are still unclear. To investigate the role of UCP-2 mechanistically, expression of UCP-2 was silenced by small interfering RNA in adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes. We demonstrate that a downregulation of UCP-2 by siRNA in cardiomyocytes preserves contractile function in the presence of angiotensin II. Furthermore, silencing of UCP-2 was associated with an upregulation of glucose transporter type (Glut)-4, increased glucose uptake, and reduced intracellular lactate levels, indicating improvement of the oxidative glucose metabolism. To study this adaptation in vivo, spontaneously hypertensive rats served as a model for cardiac hypertrophy due to pressure overload. During compensatory hypertrophy, we found low UCP-2 levels with an upregulation of Glut-4, while the decompensatory state with impaired function was associated with an increase of UCP-2 and reduced Glut-4 expression. By blocking the aldosterone receptor with spironolactone, both cardiac function as well as UCP-2 and Glut-4 expression levels of the compensated phase could be preserved. Furthermore, we were able to confirm this by left ventricular (LV) biopsies of patients with end-stage heart failure. The results of this study show that UCP-2 seems to impact the cardiac glucose metabolism during the transition from hypertrophy to failure by affecting glucose uptake through Glut-4. We suggest that the failing heart could benefit from low UCP-2 levels by improving the efficiency of glucose oxidation. For this reason, UCP-2 inhibition might be a promising therapeutic strategy to prevent the development of heart failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Circulating Neutrophils Do Not Predict Subclinical Coronary Artery Disease in Women with Former Preeclampsia
Cells 2020, 9(2), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020468 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Introduction: Preeclampsia (PE) represents a hypertensive pregnancy disorder that is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This increased risk has been attributed to accelerated atherosclerosis, with inflammation being a major contributor. Neutrophils play an important role in the onset and progression of [...] Read more.
Introduction: Preeclampsia (PE) represents a hypertensive pregnancy disorder that is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This increased risk has been attributed to accelerated atherosclerosis, with inflammation being a major contributor. Neutrophils play an important role in the onset and progression of atherosclerosis and have been associated with vascular damage in the placenta as well as the chronic inflammatory state in women with PE. We therefore investigated whether circulating neutrophil numbers or reactivity were associated with the presence and severity of subclinical atherosclerosis in women with a history of PE. Methods: Women aged 45–60 years with a 10 to 20 years earlier history of early onset preeclampsia (delivery <34 weeks of gestation) (n = 90), but without symptomatic CVD burden were screened for the presence of subclinical coronary artery disease (CAD) using both contrast-enhanced and non-contrast coronary CT angiography. Subclinical CAD was defined as a coronary artery calcium (CAC) score ≥100 Agatston Units and/or ≥50% coronary luminal stenosis. We assessed whether the numbers and activity of circulating neutrophils were associated with the presence of subclinical CAD and as secondary outcome measurements, with the presence of any calcium (CAC score > 0 AU) or stenosis, categorized as absent (0%), minimal to mild (>0 and <50%), and moderate to severe (≥50%) narrowing of the coronary artery. Blood was drawn just before CT and neutrophil numbers were assessed by flow cytometry. In addition, the presence of the chemokine receptors CXCR2 and CXCR4, which are known to be instrumental in neutrophil recruitment, and neutrophil activity upon stimulation with the bacterial peptide N-Formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLF) was assessed by flow cytometry. Results: Of the participating women, with an average age of 49 years, 13% (12 out of 90) presented with subclinical signs of CAD (CAC score ≥100 AU and/or ≥50% luminal stenosis), and 37% (33 out of 90) had a positive CAC score (>0). Total white blood cell count and neutrophil counts were not associated with the presence of subclinical CAD or with a positive CAC score. When assessing the presence of the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CXCR2, we observed a slight decrease of neutrophil CXCR2 expression in women with CAC (median MFI 22.0 [interquartile range (IQR) 20.2–23.8]) compared to women without CAC (23.8 [IQR 21.6–25.6], p = 0.02). We observed no differences regarding neutrophil CXCR4 expression. In addition, expression of the early activity marker CD35 was slightly lower on neutrophils of women with subclinical CAD (median MFI 1.6 [IQR 1.5–1.9] compared to 1.9 [IQR 1.7–2.1] in women without CAD, p = 0.02). However, for all findings, statistical significance disappeared after adjustment for multiple testing. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that neutrophil counts and (re)activity are not directly associated with silent CAD disease burden and as such are not suitable as biomarkers to predict the presence of subclinical CAD in a high-risk population of women with a history of preeclampsia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
The Crosstalk between Cardiac Lipotoxicity and Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress in the Cardiac Alterations in Diet-Induced Obesity in Rats
Cells 2020, 9(2), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020451 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2109
Abstract
The impact of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ was evaluated in the cardiac alterations associated with obesity. Male Wistar rats were fed either a high fat diet (HFD, 35% fat) or a standard diet (CT, 3.5% fat) for 7 weeks and treated with MitoQ [...] Read more.
The impact of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ was evaluated in the cardiac alterations associated with obesity. Male Wistar rats were fed either a high fat diet (HFD, 35% fat) or a standard diet (CT, 3.5% fat) for 7 weeks and treated with MitoQ (200 µM). The effect of MitoQ (5 nM) in rat cardiac myoblasts treated for 24 h with palmitic acid (PA, 200 µM) was evaluated. MitoQ reduced cardiac oxidative stress and prevented the development of cardiac fibrosis, hypertrophy, myocardial 18-FDG uptake reduction, and mitochondrial lipid remodeling in HFD rats. It also ameliorated cardiac mitochondrial protein level changes observed in HFD: reductions in fumarate hydratase, complex I and II, as well as increases in mitofusin 1 (MFN1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha, and cyclophilin F (cycloF). In vitro, MitoQ prevented oxidative stress and ameliorated alterations in mitochondrial proteins observed in palmitic acid (PA)-stimulated cardiac myoblasts: increases in carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A, cycloF, and cytochrome C. PA induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases and nuclear factor-κB p65. Therefore, the data show the beneficial effects of MitoQ in the cardiac damage induced by obesity and suggests a crosstalk between lipotoxicity and mitochondrial oxidative stress in this damage Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Intravenous Administration of Allogenic Cell-Derived Microvesicles of Healthy Origins Defends Against Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Development by a Direct Action on Endothelial Progenitor Cells
Cells 2020, 9(2), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020423 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease development is the outcome of intermediate processes where endothelial dysfunction and vascular inflammation are main protagonists. Cell-derived microvesicles (MVs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are known as biomarkers and potential regulators for atherosclerotic vascular disease, but [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease development is the outcome of intermediate processes where endothelial dysfunction and vascular inflammation are main protagonists. Cell-derived microvesicles (MVs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are known as biomarkers and potential regulators for atherosclerotic vascular disease, but their role in the complexity of the inflammatory process and in the mechanism of vascular restoration is far from clear. We aimed to evaluate the biological activity and functional role of MVs, in particular of the EPCs-derived MVs (MVEs), of healthy origins in reducing atherosclerotic vascular disease development. The experiments were performed on hamsters divided into the following groups: simultaneously hypertensive–hyperlipidemic (HH group) by combining two feeding conditions for 4 months; HH with retro-orbital sinus injection containing 1 × 105 MVs or MVEs from control hamsters, one dose per month for 4 months of HH diet, to prevent atherosclerosis (HH-MVs or HH-MVEs group); and controls (C group), age-matched normal healthy animals. We found that circulating MV and MVE transplantation of healthy origins significantly reduces atherosclerosis development via (1) the mitigation of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and circulating EPC/cytokine/chemokine levels and (2) the structural and functional remodeling of arterial and left ventricular walls. We also demonstrated that (1) circulating MVs contain miRNAs; this was demonstrated by validating MVs and MVEs as transporters of Ago2-miRNA, Stau1-miRNA, and Stau2-miRNA complexes and (2) MV and MVE administration significantly protect against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease via transfer of miR-223, miR-21, miR-126, and miR-146a to circulating late EPCs. It should be mentioned that the favorable effects of MVEs were greater than those of MVs. Our findings suggest that allogenic MV and MVE administration of healthy origins could counteract HH diet-induced detrimental effects by biologically active miR-10a, miR-21, miR-126, and miR-146a transfer to circulating EPCs, mediating their vascular repair function in atherosclerosis processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Secreted Phospholipase A2-IIA Modulates Transdifferentiation of Cardiac Fibroblast through EGFR Transactivation: An Inflammation–Fibrosis Link
Cells 2020, 9(2), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020396 - 08 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1536
Abstract
Secreted phospholipase A2-IIA (sPLA2-IIA) is a pro-inflammatory protein associated with cardiovascular disorders, whose functions and underlying mechanisms in cardiac remodelling are still under investigation. We herein study the role of sPLA2-IIA in cardiac fibroblast (CFs)-to-myofibroblast differentiation and [...] Read more.
Secreted phospholipase A2-IIA (sPLA2-IIA) is a pro-inflammatory protein associated with cardiovascular disorders, whose functions and underlying mechanisms in cardiac remodelling are still under investigation. We herein study the role of sPLA2-IIA in cardiac fibroblast (CFs)-to-myofibroblast differentiation and fibrosis, two major features involved in cardiac remodelling, and also explore potential mechanisms involved. In a mice model of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) after autoimmune myocarditis, serum and cardiac sPLA2-IIA protein expression were found to be increased, together with elevated cardiac levels of the cross-linking enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. Exogenous sPLA2-IIA treatment induced proliferation and differentiation of adult rat CFs. Molecular studies demonstrated that sPLA2-IIA promoted Src phosphorylation, shedding of the membrane-anchored heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) ectodomain and EGFR phosphorylation, which triggered phosphorylation of ERK, P70S6K and rS6. This was also accompanied by an up-regulated expression of the bone morphogenic protein (BMP)-1, LOX and collagen I. ROS accumulation were also found to be increased in sPLA2-IIA-treated CFs. The presence of inhibitors of the Src/ADAMs-dependent HB-EGF shedding/EGFR pathway abolished the CF phenotype induced by sPLA2-IIA. In conclusion, sPLA2-IIA may promote myofibroblast differentiation through its ability to modulate EGFR transactivation and signalling as key mechanisms that underlie its biological and pro-fibrotic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Anti-CD3 Antibody Treatment Reduces Scar Formation in a Rat Model of Myocardial Infarction
Cells 2020, 9(2), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020295 - 25 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1863
Abstract
Introduction: Antibody treatment with anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) has been shown to be cardioprotective. We aimed to evaluate which single anti-T-cell epitope antibody alters chemokine expression at a level similar to ATG and identified CD3, which is a T-cell co-receptor mediating T-cell activation. Based [...] Read more.
Introduction: Antibody treatment with anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) has been shown to be cardioprotective. We aimed to evaluate which single anti-T-cell epitope antibody alters chemokine expression at a level similar to ATG and identified CD3, which is a T-cell co-receptor mediating T-cell activation. Based on these results, the effects of anti-CD3 antibody treatment on angiogenesis and cardioprotection were tested in vitro and in vivo. Methods: Concentrations of IL-8 and MCP-1 in supernatants of human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures following distinct antibody treatments were evaluated by Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). In vivo, anti-CD3 antibodies or vehicle were injected intravenously in rats subjected to acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Chemotaxis and angiogenesis were evaluated using tube and migration assays. Intracellular pathways were assessed using Western blot. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) were quantitatively evaluated using fluorescence-activated cell scanning, exoELISA, and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Also, microRNA profiles were determined by next-generation sequencing. Results: Only PBMC stimulation with anti-CD3 antibody led to IL-8 and MCP-1 changes in secretion, similar to ATG. In a rat model of AMI, systemic treatment with an anti-CD3 antibody markedly reduced infarct scar size (27.8% (Inter-quartile range; IQR 16.2–34.9) vs. 12.6% (IQR 8.3–27.2); p < 0.01). The secretomes of anti-CD3 treated PBMC neither induced cardioprotective pathways in cardiomyocytes nor pro-angiogenic mechanisms in human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVECs) in vitro. While EVs quantities remained unchanged, PBMC incubation with an anti-CD3 antibody led to alterations in EVs miRNA expression. Conclusion: Treatment with an anti-CD3 antibody led to decreased scar size in a rat model of AMI. Whereas cardioprotective and pro-angiogenetic pathways were unaltered by anti-CD3 treatment, qualitative changes in the EVs miRNA expression could be observed, which might be causal for the observed cardioprotective phenotype. We provide evidence that EVs are a potential cardioprotective treatment target. Our findings will also provide the basis for a more detailed analysis of putatively relevant miRNA candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
LRP1-Mediated AggLDL Endocytosis Promotes Cholesteryl Ester Accumulation and Impairs Insulin Response in HL-1 Cells
Cells 2020, 9(1), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9010182 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1844
Abstract
The cardiovascular disease (CVD) frequently developed during metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes mellitus is associated with increased levels of aggregation-prone small LDL particles. Aggregated LDL (aggLDL) internalization is mediated by low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1) promoting intracellular cholesteryl ester (CE) accumulation. Additionally, LRP1 [...] Read more.
The cardiovascular disease (CVD) frequently developed during metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes mellitus is associated with increased levels of aggregation-prone small LDL particles. Aggregated LDL (aggLDL) internalization is mediated by low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1) promoting intracellular cholesteryl ester (CE) accumulation. Additionally, LRP1 plays a key function in the regulation of insulin receptor (IR) and glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) activities. Nevertheless, the link between LRP1, CE accumulation, and insulin response has not been previously studied in cardiomyocytes. We aimed to identify mechanisms through which aggLDL, by its interaction with LRP1, produce CE accumulation and affects the insulin-induced intracellular signaling and GLUT4 trafficking in HL-1 cells. We demonstrated that LRP1 mediates the endocytosis of aggLDL and promotes CE accumulation in these cells. Moreover, aggLDL reduced the molecular association between IR and LRP1 and impaired insulin-induced intracellular signaling activation. Finally, aggLDL affected GLUT4 translocation to the plasma membrane and the 2-NBDG uptake in insulin-stimulated cells. We conclude that LRP1 is a key regulator of the insulin response, which can be altered by CE accumulation through LRP1-mediated aggLDL endocytosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Opposite Effects of Moderate and Extreme Cx43 Deficiency in Conditional Cx43-Deficient Mice on Angiotensin II-Induced Cardiac Fibrosis
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101299 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2075
Abstract
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is essential for cardiac electrical coupling, but its effects on myocardial fibrosis is controversial. Here, we analyzed the role of Cx43 in myocardial fibrosis caused by angiotensin II (AngII) using Cx43fl/fl and Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl inducible knock-out (Cx43 content: 50%) [...] Read more.
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is essential for cardiac electrical coupling, but its effects on myocardial fibrosis is controversial. Here, we analyzed the role of Cx43 in myocardial fibrosis caused by angiotensin II (AngII) using Cx43fl/fl and Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl inducible knock-out (Cx43 content: 50%) mice treated with vehicle or 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) to induce a Cre-ER(T)-mediated global deletion of the Cx43 floxed allele. Myocardial collagen content was enhanced by AngII in all groups (n = 8–10/group, p < 0.05). However, animals with partial Cx43 deficiency (vehicle-treated Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl) had a significantly higher AngII-induced collagen accumulation that reverted when treated with 4-OHT, which abolished Cx43 expression. The exaggerated fibrotic response to AngII in partially deficient Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl mice was associated with enhanced p38 MAPK activation and was not evident in Cx43 heterozygous (Cx43+/-) mice. In contrast, normalization of interstitial collagen in 4-OHT-treated Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl animals correlated with enhanced MMP-9 activity, IL-6 and NOX2 mRNA expression, and macrophage content, and with reduced α-SMA and SM22α in isolated fibroblasts. In conclusion, our data demonstrates an exaggerated, p38 MAPK-dependent, fibrotic response to AngII in partially deficient Cx43Cre-ER(T)/fl mice, and a paradoxical normalization of collagen deposition in animals with an almost complete Cx43 ablation, an effect associated with increased MMP-9 activity and inflammatory response and reduced fibroblasts differentiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Article
Exosome Treatment Enhances Anti-Inflammatory M2 Macrophages and Reduces Inflammation-Induced Pyroptosis in Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiomyopathy
Cells 2019, 8(10), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8101224 - 09 Oct 2019
Cited by 65 | Viewed by 4912
Abstract
Doxorubicin (Dox) is an effective antineoplastic agent used to treat cancers, but its use is limited as Dox induces adverse cardiotoxic effects. Dox-induced cardiotoxicity (DIC) can lead to heart failure and death. There is no study that investigates whether embryonic stem cell-derived exosomes [...] Read more.
Doxorubicin (Dox) is an effective antineoplastic agent used to treat cancers, but its use is limited as Dox induces adverse cardiotoxic effects. Dox-induced cardiotoxicity (DIC) can lead to heart failure and death. There is no study that investigates whether embryonic stem cell-derived exosomes (ES-Exos) in DIC can attenuate inflammation-induced pyroptosis, pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages, inflammatory cell signaling, and adverse cardiac remodeling. For this purpose, we transplanted ES-Exos and compared with ES-cells (ESCs) to examine pyroptosis, inflammation, cell signaling, adverse cardiac remodeling, and their influence on DIC induced cardiac dysfunction. Therefore, we used C57BL/6J mice ages 10 ± 2 weeks and divided them into four groups (n = 6–8/group): Control, Dox, Dox + ESCs, and Dox + ES-Exos. Our data shows that the Dox treatment significantly increased expression of inflammasome markers (TLR4 and NLRP3), pyroptotic markers (caspase-1, IL1-β, and IL-18), cell signaling proteins (MyD88, p-P38, and p-JNK), pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages, and TNF-α cytokine. This increased pyroptosis, inflammation, and cell signaling proteins were inhibited with ES-Exos or ESCs. Moreover, ES-Exos or ESCs increased M2 macrophages and anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10. Additionally, ES-Exos or ESCs treatment inhibited significantly cytoplasmic vacuolization, myofibril loss, hypertrophy, and improved heart function. In conclusion, for the first time we demonstrated that Dox-induced pyroptosis and cardiac remodeling are ameliorated by ES-Exos or ESCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Review

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Review
Role of Vitamin K-Dependent Factors Protein S and GAS6 and TAM Receptors in SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19-Associated Immunothrombosis
Cells 2020, 9(10), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9102186 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4149
Abstract
The vitamin K-dependent factors protein S (PROS1) and growth-arrest-specific gene 6 (GAS6) and their tyrosine kinase receptors TYRO3, AXL, and MERTK, the TAM subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK), are key regulators of inflammation and vascular response to damage. TAM signaling, which has [...] Read more.
The vitamin K-dependent factors protein S (PROS1) and growth-arrest-specific gene 6 (GAS6) and their tyrosine kinase receptors TYRO3, AXL, and MERTK, the TAM subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK), are key regulators of inflammation and vascular response to damage. TAM signaling, which has largely studied in the immune system and in cancer, has been involved in coagulation-related pathologies. Because of these established biological functions, the GAS6-PROS1/TAM system is postulated to play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 infection and progression complications. The participation of the TAM system in vascular function and pathology has been previously reported. However, in the context of COVID-19, the role of TAMs could provide new clues in virus-host interplay with important consequences in the way that we understand this pathology. From the viral mimicry used by SARS-CoV-2 to infect cells, to the immunothrombosis that is associated with respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients, TAM signaling seems to be involved at different stages of the disease. TAM targeting is becoming an interesting biomedical strategy, which is useful for COVID-19 treatment now, but also for other viral and inflammatory diseases in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Review
Tumor Necrosis Factor-Like Weak Inducer of Apoptosis (TWEAK)/Fibroblast Growth Factor-Inducible 14 (Fn14) Axis in Cardiovascular Diseases: Progress and Challenges
Cells 2020, 9(2), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020405 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2100
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of mortality in Western countries. CVD include several pathologies, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysm, among others. All of them are characterized by a pathological vascular remodeling in which inflammation [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of mortality in Western countries. CVD include several pathologies, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysm, among others. All of them are characterized by a pathological vascular remodeling in which inflammation plays a key role. Interaction between different members of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily and their cognate receptors induce several biological actions that may participate in CVD. The cytokine tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its functional receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14), are abundantly expressed during pathological cardiovascular remodeling. The TWEAK/Fn14 axis controls a variety of cellular functions, such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, and has several biological functions, such as inflammation and fibrosis that are linked to CVD. It has been demonstrated that persistent TWEAK/Fn14 activation is involved in both vessel and heart remodeling associated with acute and chronic CVD. In this review, we summarized the role of the TWEAK/Fn14 axis during pathological cardiovascular remodeling, highlighting the cellular components and the signaling pathways that are involved in these processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Review
The Role of Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7 (BMP-7) in Inflammation in Heart Diseases
Cells 2020, 9(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9020280 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2491
Abstract
Bone morphogenetic protein-7 is (BMP-7) is a potent anti-inflammatory growth factor belonging to the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-β) superfamily. It plays an important role in various biological processes, including embryogenesis, hematopoiesis, neurogenesis and skeletal morphogenesis. BMP-7 stimulates the target cells by binding [...] Read more.
Bone morphogenetic protein-7 is (BMP-7) is a potent anti-inflammatory growth factor belonging to the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-β) superfamily. It plays an important role in various biological processes, including embryogenesis, hematopoiesis, neurogenesis and skeletal morphogenesis. BMP-7 stimulates the target cells by binding to specific membrane-bound receptor BMPR 2 and transduces signals through mothers against decapentaplegic (Smads) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. To date, rhBMP-7 has been used clinically to induce the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells bordering the bone fracture site into chondrocytes, osteoclasts, the formation of new bone via calcium deposition and to stimulate the repair of bone fracture. However, its use in cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and diabetic cardiomyopathy is currently being explored. More importantly, these cardiovascular diseases are associated with inflammation and infiltrated monocytes where BMP-7 has been demonstrated to be a key player in the differentiation of pro-inflammatory monocytes, or M1 macrophages, into anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages, which reduces developed cardiac dysfunction. Therefore, this review focuses on the molecular mechanisms of BMP-7 treatment in cardiovascular disease and its role as an anti-fibrotic, anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory growth factor, which emphasizes its potential therapeutic significance in heart diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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Review
The Role of Lysyl Oxidase Enzymes in Cardiac Function and Remodeling
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121483 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 1740
Abstract
Lysyl oxidase (LOX) proteins comprise a family of five copper-dependent enzymes (LOX and four LOX-like isoenzymes (LOXL1–4)) critical for extracellular matrix (ECM) homeostasis and remodeling. The primary role of LOX enzymes is to oxidize lysyl and hydroxylysyl residues from collagen and elastin chains [...] Read more.
Lysyl oxidase (LOX) proteins comprise a family of five copper-dependent enzymes (LOX and four LOX-like isoenzymes (LOXL1–4)) critical for extracellular matrix (ECM) homeostasis and remodeling. The primary role of LOX enzymes is to oxidize lysyl and hydroxylysyl residues from collagen and elastin chains into highly reactive aldehydes, which spontaneously react with surrounding amino groups and other aldehydes to form inter- and intra-catenary covalent cross-linkages. Therefore, they are essential for the synthesis of a mature ECM and assure matrix integrity. ECM modulates cellular phenotype and function, and strikingly influences the mechanical properties of tissues. This explains the critical role of these enzymes in tissue homeostasis, and in tissue repair and remodeling. Cardiac ECM is mainly composed of fibrillar collagens which form a complex network that provides structural and biochemical support to cardiac cells and regulates cell signaling pathways. It is now becoming apparent that cardiac performance is affected by the structure and composition of the ECM and that any disturbance of the ECM contributes to cardiac disease progression. This review article compiles the major findings on the contribution of the LOX family to the development and progression of myocardial disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells in Cardiovascular Disease)
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