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J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Jan 22;8(2):e010057. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.010057.

ARHGAP18: A Flow-Responsive Gene That Regulates Endothelial Cell Alignment and Protects Against Atherosclerosis.

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1 Vascular Biology Program Centre for the Endothelium Centenary Institute The University of Sydney Newtown Australia.
2 Immune Imaging Program, Centenary Institute The University of Sydney Newtown Australia.
3 Department of Internal Medicine Yale Cardiovascular Research Center Yale University New Haven CT.


Background Vascular endothelial cell (EC) alignment in the direction of flow is an adaptive response that protects against aortic diseases, such as atherosclerosis. The Rho GTP ases are known to regulate this alignment. Herein, we analyze the effect of ARHGAP 18 on the regulation of EC alignment and examine the effect of ARHGAP 18 deficiency on the development of atherosclerosis in mice. Methods and Results We used in vitro analysis of ECs under flow conditions together with apolipoprotein E-/- Arhgap 18-/- double-mutant mice to study the function of ARHGAP 18 in a high-fat diet-induced model of atherosclerosis. Depletion of ARHGAP 18 inhibited the alignment of ECs in the direction of flow and promoted inflammatory phenotype, as evidenced by disrupted junctions and increased expression of nuclear factor-κB and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and decreased endothelial nitric oxide synthase. Mice with double deletion in ARHGAP 18 and apolipoprotein E and fed a high-fat diet show early onset of atherosclerosis, with lesions developing in atheroprotective regions. Conclusions ARHGAP 18 is a protective gene that maintains EC alignments in the direction of flow. Deletion of ARHGAP 18 led to loss of EC ability to align and promoted atherosclerosis development.


ARHGAP18; animal model; atherosclerosis; endothelial cell

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