Oxytocin inhibits ox-LDL-induced adhesion of monocytic THP-1 cells to human brain microvascular endothelial cells

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The attachment of monocytes to human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVEs) caused by oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) is associated with an early event and the pathological progression of cerebrovascular diseases. Oxytocin (OT) is a human peptide hormone that is traditionally used as a medication to facilitate childbirth. However, little information is available regarding the physiological function of OT in brain endothelial dysfunction. In the present study, our results indicate that the oxytocin receptor (OTR) was expressed in human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVEs) and was upregulated in response to ox-LDL in a concentration-dependent manner. Notably, OT significantly suppressed ox-LDL-induced attachment of THP-1 monocytes to HBMVEs. Furthermore, we found that OT reduced the expression of adhesion molecules, such as VCAM-1 and E-selectin. Interestingly, it was shown that OT could restore ox-LDL-induced reduction of KLF4 in HBMVEs. Importantly, knockdown of KLF4 abolished the inhibitory effects of OT on ox-LDL-induced expressions of VCAM-1 and E-selectin as well as the adhesion of human monocytic THP-1 cells to endothelial HBMVEs. Mechanistically, we found that the stimulatory effects of OT on KLF4 expression are mediated by the MEK5/MEF2A pathway.

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