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Involvement of arginase upregulation in diabetes- and angiotensin II-induced vascular dysfunctionCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number 1 killer of men and women in the United States and the world. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and aging are some of the risk factors for CVD. A major cause of morbidity and mortality in CVD is vascular dysfunction, which progresses rapidly as the risk factors progress. Vascular dysfunction is characterized by a constellation of blood flow reducing pathologies, including impaired vasorelaxation and elevated arterial stiffening. The mechanisms leading to these vascular abnormalities are not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that arginase, an enzyme in the urea cycle, mediates vascular dysfunction in hypertension and obesity related diabetes. Arginase (ARG) can compete with nitric oxide (NO) synthase for their common substrate, L-arginine. Increased arginase can also provide more ornithine for synthesis of polyamines via ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and proline/collagen via ornithine aminotransferase (OAT), leading to vascular cell proliferation and collagen formation, respectively. We hypothesized that elevated arginase activity is involved in Ang II-induced vascular dysfunction and that limiting its activity can prevent these changes. We tested this by studies in C57BL/6J mice lacking one copy of the ARG1 gene that were treated with Ang II (1 mg/kg/day, 4 weeks). We demonstrated that Ang II induces smooth muscle cell proliferation, collagen synthesis, and arterial fibrosis and stiffness via a mechanism involving increased arginase activity. Furthermore, we examined the role of arginase in vascular dysfunctions and pathologies associated with obesity-related type 2 diabetes in mice fed with high-fat/high-sucrose (HFHS) diet for 6 months. This model produced a clinical presentation and pathophysiological relevance to the human condition in obesity related type 2 diabetes. We demonstrated that HFHS diet impaired endothelial dependent vasorelaxation and increased arterial stiffness in WT mice, but not in mice treated with arginase inhibitor ABH. Endothelial cell specific knockout of ARG1 (EC-A1-/-) in mice also prevented HFHS induced vascular dysfunctions. Aortic perivascular collagen deposition was significantly higher in HFHS mice compared to normal diet. Furthermore, marked increase in vascular cell adhesion molecule expression and macrophage infiltration into the aortic walls was observed with HFHS diet. Additionally, plasma lipid peroxidase activity, a measure of systemic oxidative stress, was also markedly increased in HFHS mice. These changes were prevented in ABH treated mice and EC-A1-/- mice. These studies suggest that enhanced ARG1 activity promotes vascular dysfunctions associated with elevated Ang II levels or obesity related diabetes.
Toll-like receptor 2 contributes to cerebrovascular dysfunction and cognitive impairment in diabetesThe risk of cognitive decline in diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) is significantly greater compared to normoglycemic patients, and the risk of developing dementia in diabetic patients is doubled. The etiology for this is likely multifactorial, but one mechanism that has gained increasing attention is decreased cerebral blood flow (CBF) as a result of cerebrovascular dysfunction. The innate immune system has been shown to play a role in diabetic vascular complications, notably through Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulated release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines that leads to vascular damage. TLR2 has been implicated in the development of diabetic microvascular complications such as nephropathy, and thus we hypothesized that TLR2-mediated cerebrovascular dysfunction leads to decreased CBF and cognitive impairment in diabetes. Vascular TLR2 expression was increased and local TLR2 antagonism improved cerebrovascular function in diabetes. While the anti-hyperglycemic dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPP-IV) inhibitor linagliptin prevented TLR2 expression in brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) when applied locally, chronic in vivo treatment did not decrease vascular smooth muscle TLR2 expression. Treatment with linagliptin restored CBF in diabetes independent of effects on blood glucose levels, and this increase in CBF was correlated with decreased endothelin-1 (ET-1)-mediated vasoconstriction, decreased pathological remodeling, and increased endothelium-dependent relaxation. Knockout of TLR2 conferred protection from impaired CBF in early-stage diabetes and from hyperperfusion in long-term diabetes, prevented the development of endothelium dependent vascular dysfunction in diabetes, created a hyperactive and anxiolytic phenotype, and protected against diabetes induced impairment of long term hippocampal- and prefrontal cortex- mediated fear learning. In conclusion, these findings support the involvement of TLR2 in the pathogenesis of diabetic vascular disease and cognitive impairment.
Toll-like receptor 9 contributes to vascular dysfunction in hypertensionInappropriate immune system activation is common in hypertension; however, the exact mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood. Innate immune system recognition and response to damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) is becoming an increasingly accepted mechanism. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a DAMP that is recognized by Toll-like receptor (TLR)9, and it is elevated in the circulation of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Therefore, we hypothesized that (1) inhibition of TLR9 in SHR with a TLR9 antagonist (ODN2088) or TLR9 inhibitor (chloroquine) would lower blood pressure and improve vascular function and that (2) treatment of normotensive rats with a TLR9 agonist (ODN2395) would cause vascular dysfunction and increase blood pressure. Both ODN2088 and chloroquine lowered high blood pressure in SHR and treatment with chloroquine also improved cyclooxygenase-dependent endothelial function and prevented the full recruitment of the adaptive immune system in SHR. On the other hand, treatment of normotensive rats with ODN2395 increased blood pressure and rendered their arteries less sensitive to acetylcholine-induced relaxation and more sensitive to norepinephrine-induced contraction. This dysfunctional vasoreactivity was due to cyclooxygenase activation, increased reactive oxygen species generation, and reduced nitric oxide bioavailability. In conclusion, these findings support the involvement of the innate immune system pattern recognition receptor TLR9 in the pathogenesis and maintenance of hypertension. Specifically, circulating mtDNA may activate TLR9 and contribute to high blood pressure and endothelial dysfunction in SHR.