Abstract P259: Endothelial Acid Sphingomyelinase Gene Determines Inflammasome Activation and Atherosclerotic Lesions in Carotid Arteries During Hypercholesterolemia
Nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor protein with pyrin domain containing 3 (Nlrp3) inflammasome has been reported to be activated by atherogenic factors, thereby triggering endothelial injury and consequent atherosclerotic lesions in the arterial wall. However, the mechanism activating and regulating Nlrp3 inflammasomes remains poorly understood. The present study tested whether membrane raft (MR) signaling platforms associated with acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) and its product ceramide (Ce) importantly contribute to the activation of Nlrp3 inflammasomes and atherosclerotic lesions during hypercholesterolemia (HC). By confocal microscopy and biochemical analyses, we demonstrated the formation and activation of Nlrp3 inflammasomes in the intima of the carotid arteries of Asm+/+ mice with HC (as shown by a 2-fold increase in caspase-1 activity and a 6-fold enhancement of IL-1β positive stain areas), but not in Asm-/- mice. In endothelium-specific ASM transgenic mice (EC-Asmtrg), this inflammasome formation and activation were enhanced. Correspondingly, HC-induced increases in IL-1β production, ASM expression, Ce level and MR-gp91phox clustering in the carotid intima were abolished in Asm-/- mice, but enhanced in EC-Asmtrg mice. Functionally, endothelium-dependent vasodilation (EDVD) in carotid arteries in vivo (by ultrasound flowmetry) and in vitro (in perfused artery) was impaired by HC in Asm+/+ mice by 33% and 54%, respectively. This endothelial dysfunction was not observed in Asm-/- mice. The endothelial tight junction protein, ZO-1 was reduced by HC in both Asm+/+ and EC-Asmtrg mice, but not in Asm-/- mice. It was also found that HC-increased neointimal formation, T-cell infiltration, and fibrosis in 2-week partially ligated carotid arteries (PLCA) occurred in Asm+/+ mice, but not in Asm-/- mice with HC. EC-Asmtrg mice even exhibited more severe inflammatory and atherosclerotic lesions. All these results suggest that Asm gene and related MR clustering are essential to endothelial inflammasome activation and dysfunction in carotid arteries, ultimately determining the extent of atherosclerotic lesions.
Author Disclosures: M. Xia: None. K.M. Bioni: None. Y. Chen: None. X. Li: None. A.L. Pitzer: None. Y. Zhang: None. P. Li: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.