Endothelial mechanotransduction proteins and vascular function are altered by dietary sucrose supplementation in healthy young male subjects
Endothelial mechanotransduction is important for vascular function but alterations and activation of vascular mechanosensory proteins have not been investigated in humans. In endothelial cell culture, simple sugars effectively impair mechanosensor proteins. To study mechanosensor- and vascular function in humans, 12 young healthy male subjects supplemented their diet with 3 × 75 g sucrose day−1 for 14 days in a randomized cross-over design. Before and after the intervention period, the hyperaemic response to passive lower leg movement and active knee extensor exercise was determined by ultrasound doppler. A muscle biopsy was obtained from the thigh muscle before and after acute passive leg movement to allow assessment of protein amounts and the phosphorylation status of mechanosensory proteins and NADPH oxidase. The sucrose intervention led to a reduced flow response to passive movement (by 17 ± 2%) and to 12 W of active exercise (by 9 ± 1%), indicating impaired vascular function. A reduced flow response to passive and active exercise was paralleled by a significant up-regulation of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1), endothelial nitric oxide synthase, NADPH oxidase and the Rho family GTPase Rac1 protein expression in the muscle tissue, as well as an increased basal phosphorylation status of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 and a reduced phosphorylation status of PECAM-1. The phosphorylation status was not acutely altered with passive leg movement. These findings indicate that a regular intake of high levels of sucrose can impair vascular mechanotransduction and increase the oxidative stress potential, and suggest that dietary excessive sugar intake may contribute to the development of vascular disease.