Doctor of Medicine, Univerzitet Sv Kiril I Metodi (2006)
Michael Fischbein, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Accelerated arterial stiffening is a major complication of diabetes mellitus with no specific therapy available to date.The present study investigates the role of the osteogenic transcription factor runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) as a potential mediator and therapeutic target of aortic fibrosis and aortic stiffening in diabetes mellitus.Using a murine model of type 2 diabetes mellitus (db/db mice), we identify progressive structural aortic stiffening that precedes the onset of arterial hypertension. At the same time, Runx2 is aberrantly upregulated in the medial layer of db/db aortae, as well as in thoracic aortic samples from patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Vascular smooth muscle cell-specific overexpression of Runx2 in transgenic mice increases expression of its target genes, Col1a1 and Col1a2, leading to medial fibrosis and aortic stiffening. Interestingly, increased Runx2 expression per se is not sufficient to induce aortic calcification. Using in vivo and in vitro approaches, we further demonstrate that expression of Runx2 in diabetes mellitus is regulated via a redox-sensitive pathway that involves a direct interaction of NF-κB with the Runx2 promoter.In conclusion, this study highlights Runx2 as a previously unrecognized inducer of vascular fibrosis in the setting of diabetes mellitus, promoting arterial stiffness irrespective of calcification.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.306341
View details for PubMedID 26208651
Rupture and dissection of aortic root aneurysms remain the leading causes of death in patients with the Marfan syndrome, a hereditary connective tissue disorder that affects 1 in 5000 individuals worldwide. In the present study, we use a Marfan mouse model (Fbn1(C1039G/+)) to investigate the biological importance of apoptosis during aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome.Using in vivo single-photon emission computed tomographic-imaging and ex vivo autoradiography for Tc99m-annexin, we discovered increased apoptosis in the Fbn1(C1039G/+) ascending aorta during early aneurysm development peaking at 4 weeks. Immunofluorescence colocalization studies identified smooth muscle cells (SMCs) as the apoptotic cell population. As biological proof of concept that early aortic wall apoptosis plays a role in aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome, Fbn1(C1039G/+) mice were treated daily from 2 to 6 weeks with either (1) a pan-caspase inhibitor, Q-VD-OPh (20 mg/kg), or (2) vehicle control intraperitoneally. Q-VD-OPh treatment led to a significant reduction in aneurysm size and decreased extracellular matrix degradation in the aortic wall compared with control mice. In vitro studies using Fbn1(C1039G/+) ascending SMCs showed that apoptotic SMCs have increased elastolytic potential compared with viable cells, mostly because of caspase activity. Moreover, in vitro (1) cell membrane isolation, (2) immunofluorescence staining, and (3) scanning electron microscopy studies illustrate that caspases are expressed on the exterior cell surface of apoptotic SMCs.Caspase inhibition attenuates aneurysm development in an Fbn1(C1039G/+) Marfan mouse model. Mechanistically, during apoptosis, caspases are expressed on the cell surface of SMCs and likely contribute to elastin degradation and aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome.
View details for DOI 10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.304364
View details for Web of Science ID 000346561100022
View details for PubMedID 25359856