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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2012 Jul 15;303(2):C213-23. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00227.2011. Epub 2012 May 9.

Rosiglitazone attenuates NF-κB-mediated Nox4 upregulation in hyperglycemia-activated endothelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, Atlanta Veterans Affairs and Emory University Medical Centers, Georgia, USA.


Vascular complications, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients, are related to hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress. Previously, we reported that rosiglitazone (RSG) attenuated vascular expression and activity of NADPH oxidases in diabetic mice. The mechanisms underlying these effects remain to be elucidated. We hypothesized that RSG acts directly on endothelial cells to modulate vascular responses in diabetes. To test this hypothesis, human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) were exposed to normal glucose (NG; 5.6 mmol/l) or high glucose (HG; 30 mmol/l) concentrations. Select HAEC monolayers were treated with RSG, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), diphenyleneiodonium (DPI), small interfering (si)RNA (to NF-κB/p65 or Nox4), or Tempol. HG increased the expression and activity of the NADPH oxidase catalytic subunit Nox4 but not Nox1 or Nox2. RSG attenuated HG-induced NF-κB/p65 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation, and binding to the Nox4 promoter. Inhibiting NF-κB with CAPE or siNF-κB/p65 also reduced HG-induced Nox4 expression and activity. HG-induced H(2)O(2) production was attenuated by siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nox4, and HG-induced HAEC monocyte adhesion was attenuated by treatment with RSG, DPI, CAPE, or Tempol. These results indicate that HG exposure stimulates HAEC NF-κB activation, Nox4 expression, and H(2)O(2) production and that RSG attenuates HG-induced oxidative stress and subsequent monocyte-endothelial interactions by attenuating NF-κB/p65 activation and Nox4 expression. This study provides novel insights into mechanisms by which the thiazolidinedione peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ ligand RSG favorably modulates endothelial responses in the diabetic vasculature.

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