Bone Morphogenic Protein 4-Smad–Induced Upregulation of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor AA Impairs Endothelial Function

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Bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP4) is an important mediator of endothelial dysfunction in cardio-metabolic diseases, whereas platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) are major angiogenic and proinflammatory mediator, although the functional link between these 2 factors is unknown. The present study investigated whether PDGF mediates BMP4-induced endothelial dysfunction in diabetes mellitus.

Approach and Results—

We generated Ad-Bmp4 to overexpress Bmp4 and Ad-Pdgfa-shRNA to knockdown Pdgfa in mice through tail intravenous injection. SMAD4-shRNA lentivirus, SMAD1-shRNA, and SMAD5 shRNA adenovirus were used for knockdown in human and mouse endothelial cells. We found that PDGF-AA impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation in aortas and mesenteric resistance arteries. BMP4 upregulated PDGF-AA in human and mouse endothelial cells, which was abolished by BMP4 antagonist noggin or knockdown of SMAD1/5 or SMAD4. BMP4-impared relaxation in mouse aorta was also ameliorated by PDGF-AA neutralizing antibody. Tail injection of Ad-Pdgfa-shRNA ameliorates endothelial dysfunction induced by Bmp4 overexpression (Ad-Bmp4) in vivo. Serum PDGF-AA was elevated in both diabetic patients and diabetic db/db mice compared with nondiabetic controls. Pdgfa-shRNA or Bmp4-shRNA adenovirus reduced serum PDGF-AA concentration in db/db mice. PDGF-AA neutralizing antibody or tail injection with Pdgfa-shRNA adenovirus improved endothelial function in aortas and mesenteric resistance arteries from db/db mice. The effect of PDGF-AA on endothelial function in mouse aorta was also inhibited by Ad-Pdgfra-shRNA to inhibit PDGFRα.


The present study provides novel evidences to show that PDGF-AA impairs endothelium-dependent vasodilation and PDGF-AA mediates BMP4-induced adverse effect on endothelial cell function through SMAD1/5- and SMAD4-dependent mechanisms. Inhibition of PGDF-AA ameliorates vascular dysfunction in diabetic mice.

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