Age-Associated Sirtuin 1 Reduction in Vascular Smooth Muscle Links Vascular Senescence and Inflammation to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

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Abstract

Rationale:

Uncontrolled growth of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) is a life-threatening vascular disease without an effective pharmaceutical treatment. AAA incidence dramatically increases with advancing age in men. However, the molecular mechanisms by which aging predisposes individuals to AAAs remain unknown.

Objective:

In this study, we investigated the role of SIRT1 (Sirtuin 1), a class III histone deacetylase, in AAA formation and the underlying mechanisms linking vascular senescence and inflammation.

Methods and Results:

The expression and activity of SIRT1 were significantly decreased in human AAA samples. SIRT1 in vascular smooth muscle cells was remarkably downregulated in the suprarenal aortas of aged mice, in which AAAs induced by angiotensin II infusion were significantly elevated. Moreover, vascular smooth muscle cell–specific knockout of SIRT1 accelerated angiotensin II–induced formation and rupture of AAAs and AAA-related pathological changes, whereas vascular smooth muscle cell–specific overexpression of SIRT1 suppressed angiotensin II–induced AAA formation and progression in Apoe−/− mice. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of SIRT1 on AAA formation was also proved in a calcium chloride (CaCl2)–induced AAA model. Mechanistically, the reduction of SIRT1 was shown to increase vascular cell senescence and upregulate p21 expression, as well as enhance vascular inflammation. Notably, inhibition of p21-dependent vascular cell senescence by SIRT1 blocked angiotensin II–induced nuclear factor-κB binding on the promoter of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and inhibited its expression.

Conclusions:

These findings provide evidence that SIRT1 reduction links vascular senescence and inflammation to AAAs and that SIRT1 in vascular smooth muscle cells provides a therapeutic target for the prevention of AAA formation.

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