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Blood. 2002 Jan 1;99(1):199-206.

Oxidized phospholipids stimulate tissue factor expression in human endothelial cells via activation of ERK/EGR-1 and Ca(++)/NFAT.

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  • 1Department of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research, University of Vienna, Austria.


Activation of endothelial cells by lipid oxidation products is a key event in the initiation and progression of the atherosclerotic lesion. Minimally modified low-density lipoprotein (MM-LDL) induces the expression of certain inflammatory molecules such as tissue factor (TF) in endothelial cells. This study examined intracellular signaling pathways leading to TF up-regulation by oxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine (OxPAPC), a biologically active component of MM-LDL. OxPAPC induced TF activity and protein expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). However, OxPAPC neither induced phosphorylation or degradation of I kappa B alpha nor DNA binding of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B). Furthermore, OxPAPC-induced TF expression was not inhibited by overexpression of I kappa B alpha. These results strongly indicate that OxPAPC-induced TF expression is independent of the classical NF-kappa B pathway. However, OxPAPC stimulated phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and expression of early growth response factor 1 (EGR-1). Inhibitors of mitogen-activated kinase/ERK (MEK) or protein kinase C (PKC) blocked elevation of both EGR-1 and TF. Furthermore, overexpression of NAB2, a corepressor of EGR-1, inhibited effects of OxPAPC. In addition, OxPAPC induced rapid and reversible elevation of free cytosolic Ca(++) levels and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)/DNA binding. Induction of TF expression by OxPAPC was partially inhibited by cyclosporin A, known to block calcineurin, a Ca(++)-dependent phosphatase upstream of NFAT. Treatment of OxPAPC with phospholipase A(2) destroyed its biologic activity and 1-palmitoyl-2-glutaroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine was identified as one biologically active component of OxPAPC that induces TF expression. Together, the results demonstrate that OxPAPC induces TF expression in HUVECs through activation of PKC/ERK/EGR-1 and Ca(++)/calcineurin/NFAT pathways rather than by NF-kappa B-mediated transcription. Thus, oxidized phospholipids may contribute to inflammation by activating pathways alternative to the classical NF-kappa B pathway.

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