Human urine kininogenase attenuates balloon-induced intimal hyperplasia in rabbit carotid artery through transforming growth factor β1/Smad2/3 signaling pathway

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Abstract

Objective:

Effective treatments against restenosis after percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting are largely lacking. Human tissue kallikrein gene transfer has been shown to be able to attenuate neointima formation induced by balloon catheter. As a tissue kallikrein in vivo, human urinary kininogenase (HUK) is widely used to prevent ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, the effects of HUK on neointima formation have not been explored. We therefore investigated whether HUK could alleviate balloon catheter-induced intimal hyperplasia in rabbits fed with high-fat diets.

Methods:

The effects of HUK on neointima and atherosclerosis formation were analyzed by hematoxylin-eosin staining and immunohistochemical staining in balloon-injured carotid arteries of rabbits. Local inflammatory response was evaluated by detecting the gene expression of tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin 1β with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction plus the invasion of macrophages with immunohistochemical staining. Western blotting was employed to investigate the effects of HUK on activities of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), and Smad signaling pathway. The long-term effect of HUK on intimal hyperplasia of the injured carotid artery was assessed by angiography.

Results:

Quantitative image analysis showed that intravenous administration of HUK for 14 days significantly decreased the intimal areas and intima area/media area ratios (day 14, 54% decrease in intimal area and 58% decrease in intima area/media area ratios; day 28, 63% and 85%). Significant decreases were also noted in macrophage foam cell-positive area after 7-day or 14-day administration of HUK (day 7, 69% decrease in intimal area and 78% decrease in media area; day 14, 79% and 60%; day 28, 68% and 44%). Actin staining for smooth muscle cells in neointima at 2 months showed similar results (vascular smooth muscle cell-positive area of neointima, 28.21% ± 5.58% vs 43.78% ± 8.36%;P< .05). Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction or Western blot analysis showed that HUK reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, TGF-β1, and p-Smad2/3 but increased the expression of p-eNOS. Angiography analysis showed that 14-day administration of HUK significantly decreased the degree of stenosis (26.8% ± 7.1% vs 47.9% ± 5.7%;P< .01) at 2 months after balloon injury.

Conclusions:

Our results indicate that HUK is able to attenuate atherosclerosis formation and to inhibit intimal hyperplasia by downregulating TGF-β1 expression and Smad2/3 phosphorylation, upregulating eNOS activity. HUK may be a potential therapeutic agent to prevent stenosis after vascular injury.

Clinical Relevance:

Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting is increasingly being used for the treatment of atherosclerotic stenosis. However, effective treatments against restenosis after percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting are largely lacking. Human tissue kallikrein gene transfer has been shown to be able to attenuate neointima formation induced by balloon catheter. In this study, we adopted a well-established model to investigate the influence of human urinary kininogenase (HUK), as a tissue kallikrein in vivo, on atherosclerosis and stenosis in rabbit carotid artery after balloon injury. Our results indicated that HUK attenuated proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells and inhibited intimal hyperplasia. HUK may be a potential therapeutic agent to prevent stenosis after vascular injury.

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