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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016 Aug;36(8):1651-9. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.307586. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

Vitamin D Deficiency Accelerates Coronary Artery Disease Progression in Swine.

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From the Department of Clinical and Translational Science, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE.
From the Department of Clinical and Translational Science, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE.



The role of vitamin D deficiency in coronary artery disease (CAD) progression is uncertain. Chronic inflammation in epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CAD. However, the molecular mechanism underlying vitamin D deficiency-enhanced inflammation in the EAT of diseased coronary arteries remains unknown. We examined a mechanistic link between 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-mediated suppression of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transporter, karyopherin α4 (KPNA4) expression and NF-κB activation in preadipocytes. Furthermore, we determined whether vitamin D deficiency accelerates CAD progression by increasing KPNA4 and nuclear NF-κB levels in EAT.


Nuclear protein levels were detected by immunofluorescence and Western blot. Exogenous KPNA4 was transported into cells by a transfection approach and constituted lentiviral vector. Swine were administered vitamin D-deficient or vitamin D-sufficient hypercholesterolemic diet. After 1 year, the histopathology of coronary arteries and nuclear protein expression of EAT were assessed. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D inhibited NF-κB activation and reduced KPNA4 levels through increased vitamin D receptor expression. Exogenous KPNA4 rescued 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-dependent suppression of NF-κB nuclear translocation and activation. Vitamin D deficiency caused extensive CAD progression and advanced atherosclerotic plaques, which are linked to increased KPNA4 and nuclear NF-κB levels in the EAT.


1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D attenuates NF-κB activation by targeting KPNA4. Vitamin D deficiency accelerates CAD progression at least, in part, through enhanced chronic inflammation of EAT by upregulation of KPNA4, which enhances NF-κB activation. These novel findings provide mechanistic evidence that vitamin D supplementation could be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of CAD.


1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D; KPNA4; atherosclerosis; coronary artery disease; vitamin D

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