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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 18;9(2):e88899. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088899. eCollection 2014.

Recoupling of eNOS with folic acid prevents abdominal aortic aneurysm formation in angiotensin II-infused apolipoprotein E null mice.

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Divisions of Molecular Medicine and Cardiology, Departments of Anesthesiology and Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.


We have previously shown that eNOS uncoupling mediates abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation in hph-1 mice. In the present study we examined whether recoupling of eNOS prevents AAA formation in a well-established model of Angiotensin II-infused apolipoprotein E (apoE) null mice by targeting some common pathologies of AAA. Infusion of Ang II resulted in a 92% incidence rate of AAA in the apoE null animals. In a separate group, animals were treated orally with folic acid (FA), which is known to recouple eNOS through augmentation of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) function. This resulted in a reduction of AAA rate to 19.5%. Imaging with ultrasound showed that FA markedly inhibited expansion of abdominal aorta. FA also abolished elastin breakdown and macrophage infiltration in the AAA animals. The eNOS uncoupling activity, assessed by L-NAME-sensitive superoxide production, was minimal at baseline but greatly exaggerated with Ang II infusion, which was completely attenuated by FA. This was accompanied by markedly improved tetrahydrobiopterin and nitric oxide bioavailability. Furthermore, the expression and activity of DHFR was decreased in Ang II-infused apoE null mice specifically in the endothelial cells, while FA administration resulted in its recovery. Taken together, these data further establish a significant role of uncoupled eNOS in mediating AAA formation, and a universal efficacy of FA in preventing AAA formation via restoration of DHFR to restore eNOS function.

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