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J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2013 Apr;6(2):221-31. doi: 10.1007/s12265-012-9436-x. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Vitamin D protects human endothelial cells from H₂O₂ oxidant injury through the Mek/Erk-Sirt1 axis activation.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.


Endothelium homeostasis alterations govern the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Several studies show that vitamins anti-oxidant proprieties rescue the endothelial functions adversely affected by oxidative stress in several diseases. We investigated the vitamin D anti-oxidant potential in human endothelial cells exposed to H2O2 oxidative stress. Vitamin D protected endothelial cells against H2O2 oxidative stress counteracting the superoxide anion generation, the apoptosis and blocking the extrinsic caspase cascade by positively controlling phospho-active ERKs level. MEKs/ERKs inhibitor U0126 reverted the vitamin D anti-oxidant effects. Characterizing the vitamin D downstream effector, we found that vitamin D up-regulated SirT-1 and reverted the SirT-1 down-regulation induced by H2O2. ERKs activation by vitamin D strictly correlated with SirT-1 protein accumulation since both MEKs/ERKs inhibition and ERK1/2 silencing decreased SIRT-1. SirT-1 inhibition by Sirtinol reverted the vitamin D anti-oxidant effects. Thus, vitamin D significantly reduced the endothelial malfunction and damage caused by oxidative stress, through the activation of MEKs/ERKs/SirT-1 axis.

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