Chronic Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibition Retards Age-Associated Arterial Proinflammation and Increase in Blood Pressure

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Age-associated arterial remodeling involves arterial wall collagen deposition and elastin fragmentation, as well as an increase in arterial pressure. This arterial remodeling is linked to proinflammatory signaling, including transforming growth factor-β1, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and proendothelin 1, activated by extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and orchestrated, in part, by the transcriptional factor ets-1. We tested the hypothesis that inhibition of MMP activation can decelerate the age-associated arterial proinflammation and its attendant increase in arterial pressure. Indeed, chronic administration of a broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor, PD166739, via a daily gavage, to 16-month–old rats for 8 months markedly blunted the expected age-associated increases in arterial pressure. This was accompanied by the following: (1) inhibition of the age-associated increases in aortic gelatinase and interstitial collagenase activity in situ; (2) preservation of the elastic fiber network integrity; (3) a reduction of collagen deposition; (4) a reduction of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and transforming growth factor-β1 activation; (5) a diminution in the activity of the profibrogenic signaling molecule SMAD-2/3 phosphorylation; (6) inhibition of proendothelin 1 activation; and (7) downregulation of expression of ets-1. Acute exposure of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro to proendothelin 1 increased both the transcription and translation of ets-1, and these effects were markedly reduced by MMP inhibition. Furthermore, infection of vascular smooth muscle cells with an adenovirus harboring a full-length ets-1 cDNA increased activities of both transforming growth factor-β1 and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1. Collectively, our results indicate that MMP inhibition retards age-associated arterial proinflammatory signaling, and this is accompanied by preservation of intact elastin fibers, a reduction in collagen, and blunting of an age-associated increase in blood pressure.

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