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J Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Mar 18;50(2):229-41. doi: 10.1530/JME-12-0166. Print 2013 Apr.

Exendin-4 protects endothelial cells from lipoapoptosis by PKA, PI3K, eNOS, p38 MAPK, and JNK pathways.

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Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Experimental studies have indicated that endothelial cells play an important role in maintaining vascular homeostasis. We previously reported that human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) express the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) receptor and that the stable GLP1 mimetic exendin-4 is able to activate the receptor, leading to increased cell proliferation. Here, we have studied the effect of exendin-4 and native GLP1 (7-36) on lipoapoptosis and its underlying mechanisms in HCAECs. Apoptosis was assessed by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation, after incubating cells with palmitate. Nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxidative species (ROS) were analyzed. GLP1 receptor activation, PKA-, PI3K/Akt-, eNOS-, p38 MAPK-, and JNK-dependent pathways, and genetic silencing of transfection of eNOS were also studied. Palmitate-induced apoptosis stimulated cells to release NO and ROS, concomitant with upregulation of eNOS, which required activation of p38 MAPK and JNK. Exendin-4 restored the imbalance between NO and ROS production in which ROS production decreased and NO production was further augmented. Incubation with exendin-4 and GLP1 (7-36) protected HCAECs against lipoapoptosis, an effect that was blocked by PKA, PI3K/Akt, eNOS, p38 MAPK, and JNK inhibitors. Genetic silencing of eNOS also abolished the anti-apoptotic effect afforded by exendin-4. Our results support the notion that GLP1 receptor agonists restore eNOS-induced ROS production due to lipotoxicity and that such agonists protect against lipoapoptosis through PKA-PI3K/Akt-eNOS-p38 MAPK-JNK-dependent pathways via a GLP1 receptor-dependent mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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