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Hypertension. 2013 Nov;62(5):942-50. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01653. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Stimulatory effects of cardiotrophin 1 on atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, 1432-1 Horinouchi, Hachioji-City, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan.


Cardiotrophin 1 (CT-1), an interleukin-6 family cytokine, was recently shown to be expressed in the intima of early atherosclerotic lesions in the human carotid artery. CT-1 stimulates proatherogenic molecule expression in human vascular endothelial cells and monocyte migration. However, it has not been reported whether CT-1 accelerates atherosclerosis. This study was performed to examine the stimulatory effects of CT-1 on human macrophage foam cell formation and vascular smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation in vitro, and on the development of atherosclerotic lesions in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mice in vivo. CT-1 was expressed at high levels in endothelial cells and macrophages in both humans and ApoE(-/-) mice. CT-1 significantly enhanced oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced foam cell formation associated with increased levels of CD36 and acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase-1 expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages. CT-1 significantly stimulated the migration, proliferation, and collagen-1 expression in human aortic vascular smooth muscle cells. Four-week infusion of CT-1 into ApoE(-/-) mice significantly accelerated the development of aortic atherosclerotic lesions with increased monocyte/macrophage infiltration, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and collagen-1 content in the aortic wall. Activation of inflammasome, such as apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, nuclear factor κB, and cyclooxygenase-2, was observed in exudate peritoneal macrophages from ApoE(-/-) mice infused with CT-1. Infusion of anti-CT-1-neutralizing antibody alone into ApoE(-/-) mice significantly suppressed monocyte/macrophage infiltration in atherosclerotic lesions. These results indicate that CT-1 accelerates the development of atherosclerotic lesions by stimulating the inflammasome, foam cell formation associated with CD36 and acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase-1 upregulation in macrophages, and migration, proliferation, and collagen-1 production in vascular smooth muscle cells.


atherosclerosis; cardiotrophin 1; hypertension; macrophages; smooth muscle

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