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Cell Death Dis. 2013 Sep 19;4:e806. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.317.

Targeting annexin A7 by a small molecule suppressed the activity of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C in vascular endothelial cells and inhibited atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E⁻/⁻mice.

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  • 1Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Cells and Developmental Biology, Institute of Developmental Biology, School of Life Science, Shandong University, Jinan, China.


Phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) is a key factor in apoptosis and autophagy of vascular endothelial cells (VECs), and involved in atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E⁻/⁻ (apoE⁻/⁻) mice. But the endogenous regulators of PC-PLC are not known. We recently found a small chemical molecule (6-amino-2, 3-dihydro-3-hydroxymethyl-1, 4-benzoxazine, ABO) that could inhibit oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)-induced apoptosis and promote autophagy in VECs, and further identified ABO as an inhibitor of annexin A7 (ANXA7) GTPase. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that ANXA7 is an endogenous regulator of PC-PLC, and targeting ANXA7 by ABO may inhibit atherosclerosis in apoE⁻/⁻ mice. In this study, we tested our hypothesis. The results showed that ABO suppressed oxLDL-induced increase of PC-PLC level and activity and promoted the co-localization of ANXA7 and PC-PLC in VECs. The experiments of ANXA7 knockdown and overexpression demonstrated that the action of ABO was ANXA7-dependent in cultured VECs. To investigate the relation of ANXA7 with PC-PLC in atherosclerosis, apoE⁻/⁻ mice fed with a western diet were treated with 50 or 100 mg/kg/day ABO. The results showed that ABO decreased PC-PLC levels in the mouse aortic endothelium and PC-PLC activity in serum, and enhanced the protein levels of ANXA7 in the mouse aortic endothelium. Furthermore, both dosages of ABO significantly enhanced autophagy and reduced apoptosis in the mouse aortic endothelium. As a result, ABO significantly reduced atherosclerotic plaque area and effectively preserved a stable plaques phenotype, including reduced lipid deposition and pro-inflammatory macrophages, increased anti-inflammatory macrophages, collagen content and smooth muscle cells, and less cell death in the plaques. In conclusion, ANXA7 was an endogenous regulator of PC-PLC, and targeting ANXA7 by ABO inhibited atherosclerosis in apoE⁻/⁻ mice.

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