The ß(2) -adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) is located on smooth muscle cells and is an important regulator of smooth muscle tone. The Thr164Ile polymorphism (rs1800888) in the ADRB2 gene is rare but has profound functional consequences on receptor function and could cause lifelong elevated smooth muscle tone. We tested the hypothesis that Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
A total of 66 750 individuals from two large Danish general population studies were genotyped, and 1943 Thr164Ile heterozygotes and 16 homozygotes were identified.
Thr164Ile genotype was associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women (trend: P = 0.04 and 0.02): systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased by 5% and 2%, respectively, in female homozygotes compared with female noncarriers. All female Thr164Ile homozygotes had hypertension compared with 58% of female heterozygotes and 54% of female noncarriers (chi-square: P = 0.001). Female Thr164Ile homozygotes and heterozygotes had odds ratios for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) of 2.93 (0.56-15.5) and 1.28 (1.03-1.61), respectively, compared with female noncarriers (trend: P = 0.007). These differences were not observed in men. Furthermore, Gly16Arg (rs1042713) and Gln27Glu (rs1042714) in the ADRB2 gene were not associated with blood pressure, hypertension or CVD either in the population overall or in women and men separately.
ADRB2 Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of IHD amongst women in the general population. These findings, particularly for homozygotes, are novel.
Susceptibility to asthma depends on variation at an unknown number of genetic loci. To identify susceptibility genes on chromosome 7p, we adopted a hierarchical genotyping design, leading to the identification of a 133-kilobase risk-conferring segment containing two genes. One of these coded for an orphan G protein-coupled receptor named GPRA (G protein-coupled receptor for asthma susceptibility), which showed distinct distribution of protein isoforms between bronchial biopsies from healthy and asthmatic individuals. In three cohorts from Finland and Canada, single nucleotide polymorphism-tagged haplotypes associated with high serum immunoglobulin E or asthma. The murine ortholog of GPRA was up-regulated in a mouse model of ovalbumin-induced inflammation. Together, these data implicate GPRA in the pathogenesis of atopy and asthma.
BACKGROUND: A major feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is airway remodelling, which includes an increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass. The mechanisms underlying ASM remodelling in COPD are currently unknown. We hypothesized that cigarette smoke (CS) and/or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major constituent of CS, organic dust and gram-negative bacteria, that may be involved in recurrent airway infections and exacerbations in COPD patients, would induce phenotype changes of ASM. METHODS: To this aim, using cultured bovine tracheal smooth muscle (BTSM) cells and tissue, we investigated the direct effects of CS extract (CSE) and LPS on ASM proliferation and contractility. RESULTS: Both CSE and LPS induced a profound and concentration-dependent increase in DNA synthesis in BTSM cells. CSE and LPS also induced a significant increase in BTSM cell number, which was associated with increased cyclin D1 expression and dependent on activation of ERK 1/2 and p38 MAP kinase. Consistent with a shift to a more proliferative phenotype, prolonged treatment of BTSM strips with CSE or LPS significantly decreased maximal methacholine- and KCl-induced contraction. CONCLUSIONS: Direct exposure of ASM to CSE or LPS causes the induction of a proliferative, hypocontractile ASM phenotype, which may be involved in airway remodelling in COPD.
Giant cell arteritis (GCA), a vasculitis that targets medium- and large-size arteries, is ranked as a medical emergency because of its potential to cause blindness and stroke. The typical lesions, granulomas in the vessel wall, are formed by IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T cells and macrophages. CD4+ T cells undergo in situ activation in the adventitia, where they interact with indigenous dendritic cells. Tissue injury is mediated by several distinct sets of macrophages that are committed to diverse effector functions. The dominant tissue injury in the media results from oxidative stress and leads to smooth muscle cell apoptosis and nitration of endothelial cells. Macrophage-derived growth factors are instrumental in driving the response-to-injury program of the artery that causes intimal hyperplasia and vessel occlusion. Clinical manifestations are those of tissue ischemia or a syndrome of exuberant systemic inflammation. The vascular and the systemic components of GCA contribute differentially to the disease, leading to distinct clinical phenotypes of this arteritis. Immunologically most interesting is polymyalgia rheumatica, in which the systemic component is combined with aborted vasculitis, suggesting a role for artery-specific tolerance mechanisms.
Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of complex trait loci, the pathomechanisms of most remain elusive. Studying the genetics of risk factors predisposing to disease is an attractive approach to identify targets for functional studies. Intracranial aneurysms (IA) are rupture-prone pouches at cerebral artery branching sites. IA is a complex disease for which GWAS have identified five loci with strong association and a further 14 loci with suggestive association. To decipher potential underlying disease mechanisms, we tested whether there are IA loci that convey their effect through elevating blood pressure (BP), a strong risk factor of IA. We performed a meta-analysis of four population-based Finnish cohorts (n(FIN)? = ?11 266) not selected for IA, to assess the association of previously identified IA candidate loci (n ?=? 19) with BP. We defined systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure as quantitative outcome variables. The most significant result was further tested for association in the ICBP-GWAS cohort of 200 000 individuals. We found that the suggestive IA locus at 5q23.2 in PRDM6 was significantly associated with SBP in individuals of European descent (p(FIN) ?=? 3.01E-05, p(ICBP-GWAS) ?= ?0.0007, p(ALL)? = ?8.13E-07). The risk allele of IA was associated with higher SBP. PRDM6 encodes a protein predominantly expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells. Our study connects a complex disease (IA) locus with a common risk factor for the disease (SBP). We hypothesize that common variants in PRDM6 can contribute to altered vascular wall structure, hence increasing SBP and predisposing to IA. True positive associations often fail to reach genome-wide significance in GWAS. Our findings show that analysis of traditional risk factors as intermediate phenotypes is an effective tool for deciphering hidden heritability. Further, we demonstrate that common disease loci identified in a population isolate may bear wider significance.
OBJECTIVE: To study matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) effects on transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) activation status and downstream signaling during arterial aging. METHODS AND RESULTS: Western blotting and immunostaining showed that latent and activated TGF-beta1 are markedly increased within the aorta of aged Fisher 344 cross-bred Brown Norway (30 months of age) rats compared with adult (8 months of age) rats. Aortic TGF-beta1-type II receptor (TbetaRII), its downstream molecules p-similar to mad-mother against decapentaplegic (SMAD)2/3 and SMAD4, fibronectin, and collagen also increased with age. Moreover, TGF-beta1 staining is colocalized with that of activated MMP-2 within the aged arterial wall and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) in vitro, and this physical association was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation. Incubation of young aortic rings ex vivo or VSMCs in vitro with activated MMP-2 enhanced active TGF-beta1, collagen, and fibronectin expression to the level of untreated old counterparts, and this effect was abolished via inhibitors of MMP-2. Interestingly, in old untreated rings or VSMCs, the increased TGF-beta1, fibronectin, and collagen were also substantially reduced by inhibition of MMP-2. CONCLUSIONS: Active TGF-beta1, its receptor, and receptor-mediated signaling increase within the aortic wall with aging. TGF-beta1 activation is dependent, in part at least, by a concomitant age-associated increase in MMP-2 activity. Thus, MMP-2-activated TGF-beta1, and subsequently TbetaRII signaling, is a novel molecular mechanism for arterial aging.
Persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a common cardiovascular anomaly in children caused by the pathologic persistence of the left sixth pharyngeal arch artery. The inbred Brown-Norway (BN) rat presents with increased vascular fragility due to an aortic elastin deficit resulting from decreased elastin synthesis. The strikingly high prevalence of PDA in BN rats in a pilot study led us to investigate this vascular anomaly in 12 adolescent BN rats. In all BN rats, a PDA was observed macroscopically, whereas a ligamentum arteriosum was found in adult controls. The macroscopic appearance of the PDA was tubular (n = 2), stenotic (n = 8), or diverticular (n = 2). The PDA had the structure of a muscular artery with intimal thickening. In the normal closing ductus of the neonatal controls, the media consisted of layers of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) intermingled with layers of elastin. The intima was thin and poor in elastin. By contrast, the media of PDA in BN rats elastin lamellae were absent and the intima contained many elastic fibers. The abnormal distribution of elastin in the PDA of BN rats suggests that impaired elastin metabolism is related to the persistence of the ductus and implicates a genetically determined factor that may link the PDA with aortic fragility.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is associated with airway wall structural remodeling and alterations in airway smooth muscle (ASM) function. Previously, in bronchioles from Brown Norway rats challenged by repeated ovalbumin (OVA) inhalation, we have reported increased force generation and depletion of smooth muscle contractile proteins. Here, we investigated if cytoskeletal changes in smooth muscle could account for this paradox. Sensitized rats (n = 5/group) were repeatedly challenged with OVA or saline, and the lungs were removed 24 h after the last challenge. Levels of globular (G) and filamentous (F) actin in bronchioles were determined by DNase I inhibition and contraction assessed in intact small bronchioles using a myograph. DNase I inhibition assays showed that G-actin monomers were more abundant ( approximately 1F:2G) in extracts from resting small bronchioles from OVA- or saline-challenged animals. However, while contractile protein levels in bronchioles were reduced by OVA (P
BACKGROUND: Airway smooth muscle (ASM) is suspected to be a determining factor in the structural change of asthma. However, the role of protein kinase C alpha (PKCalpha) and cyclin D1 involved in the dysfunction of ASM leading to asthmatic symptoms is not clear. In this study, the central role of PKCalpha and cyclin D1 in ASM proliferation in asthmatic rats was explored. METHODS: Thirty-six pathogen-free male Brown Norway (BN) rats were randomly divided into 2 groups: control groups (group N1, N2 and N3) and asthmatic groups (group A1, A2, and A3). Groups A1, A2 and A3 were challenged with ovalbumin (OA) for 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 8 weeks respectively. Control animals were exposed to an aerosolized sterile phosphate buffered saline (PBS). The ASM mass and nucleus numbers were studied to estimate the degree of airway remodeling by the hematoxylin-eosin staining method. PKCalpha and cyclin D1 expression in the ASM cells was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. The relation between PKCalpha and cyclin D1 was assessed by linear regression analysis. PKC agonist phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), PKC inhibitor Ro31-8220 and an antisense oligonucleotide against cyclin D1 (ASOND) were used to treat ASM cells (ASMCs) obtained from the 2 weeks asthmatic rats. The cyclin D1 protein expression level was detected by Western blotting. RESULTS: Compared with the control group, the PKCalpha and cyclin D1 mRNA levels were increased in the asthmatic group. Similar to RT-PCR results, immunohistochemistry analysis for PKCalpha and cyclin D1 expression revealed an increased production in ASMCs after allergen treatment for 2, 4 and 8 weeks compared with the respective control groups. No difference in expression of PKCalpha and cyclin D1 in ASM were found in the 2, 4 or 8 weeks asthmatic rats. There were significant positive correlations between PKCalpha and cyclin D1 expression, both transcriptionally (r = 0.944, P
Fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) signal has a role in organogenesis of the mammalian testis by controlling migration of mesonephric cells to the XY gonad, but neither it nor the FGF receptors is expressed sex-specifically. Of the Sprouty genes encoding antagonists of receptor tyrosine kinases including FGFr, mSprouty2 expression was confined to the developing testis and mesonephros. Gain of SPROUTY2 function in the male genital ridge and mesonephros malformed the vas deferens and epididymis, and diminished the number of seminiferous tubules and interstitium associating with reduced mesonephric cell migration and Fgf9 expression in embryonic testis, whereas exogenous FGF9 signaling recovered mesonephric cell migration inhibited by SPROUTY2. These phenotypes associated also with the decreased expression of Sox9, Desert hedgehog, Hsd3beta, Platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule, and alpha-smooth muscle actin, which are markers of the Sertoli, Leydig, endothelial, and peritubular myoid cells of the developing testis. Based on these data, we propose that the Sprouty proteins are involved normally in mediating the sexually dimorphic signaling of FGF9 and controlling cell migration from the mesonephros during testis development.