A protective role of ciglitazone in ox-LDL-induced rat microvascular endothelial cellsviamodulating PPARγ-dependent AMPK/eNOS pathway

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Abstract

Thiazolidinediones, the antidiabetic agents such as ciglitazone, has been proved to be effective in limiting atherosclerotic events. However, the underlying mechanism remains elucidative. Ox-LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1) plays a central role in ox-LDL-mediated atherosclerosis via endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) uncoupling and nitric oxide reduction. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that ciglitazone, the PPARγ agonist, protected endothelial cells against ox-LDL through regulating eNOS activity and LOX-1 signalling. In the present study, rat microvascular endothelial cells (RMVECs) were stimulated by ox-LDL. The impact of ciglitazone on cell apoptosis and angiogenesis, eNOS expression and phosphorylation, nitric oxide synthesis and related AMPK, Akt and VEGF signalling pathway were observed. Our data showed that both eNOS and Akt phosphorylation, VEGF expression and nitric oxide production were significantly decreased, RMVECs ageing and apoptosis increased after ox-LDL induction for 24 hrs, all of which were effectively reversed by ciglitazone pre-treatment. Meanwhile, phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was suppressed by ox-LDL, which was also prevented by ciglitazone. Of interest, AMPK inhibition abolished ciglitazone-mediated eNOS function, nitric oxide synthesis and angiogenesis, and increased RMVECs ageing and apoptosis. Further experiments showed that inhibition of PPARγ significantly suppressed AMPK phosphorylation, eNOS expression and nitric oxide production. Ciglitazone-mediated angiogenesis and reduced cell ageing and apoptosis were reversed. Furthermore, LOX-1 protein expression in RMVECs was suppressed by ciglitazone, but re-enhanced by blocking PPARγ or AMPK. Ox-LDL-induced suppression of eNOS and nitric oxide synthesis were largely prevented by silencing LOX-1. Collectively, these data demonstrate that ciglitazone-mediated PPARγ activation suppresses LOX-1 and moderates AMPK/eNOS pathway, which contributes to endothelial cell survival and function preservation.

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