Docosahexaenoic acid, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- ligand, induces apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells by stimulation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase

Diep, Q.N., Touyz, R.M. and Schiffrin, E.L. (2000) Docosahexaenoic acid, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- ligand, induces apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells by stimulation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Hypertension, 36(5), pp. 851-855. (doi:10.1161/01.HYP.36.5.851)

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Abstract

Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FAs) have been shown to exert a blood pressure-lowering effect in hypertension, possibly in part by influencing vascular structure. We previously demonstrated that n-3 FAs induce vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) apoptosis, which could exert an effect on the structure of blood vessels. In the present study, we investigated signaling pathways through which n-3 FAs mediate apoptosis in VSMCs. Cultured mesenteric VSMCs from Sprague-Dawley rats were stimulated with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a representative n-3 FAs. Morphological changes in apoptosis and DNA fragmentation were examined with phase-contrast microscopy and fluorescence microscopy with Hoechst 33342 staining. To clarify possible pathways of apoptosis, we evaluated the expression of phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, bax, bcl-2, cytochrome c, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) with Western blot analysis. DHA treatment induced cell shrinkage, cell membrane blebbing, and apoptotic bodies in VSMCs. DHA time-dependently activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, bax, PPAR-alpha, and cytochrome c, with maximal effects obtained after 5 and 30 minutes and 1 and 3 hours, respectively. SB-203580 and SB-202190, selective p38 inhibitors, reduced DHA-elicited apoptosis and expression of PPAR-alpha but had no effect on the expression of bax or cytochrome c. The present results indicate that DHA induces apoptosis in VSMCs through >/=2 distinct mechanisms: (1) a p38-dependent pathway that regulates PPAR-alpha and (2) a p38-independent pathway via dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential and cytochrome c release. The death-signaling pathway stimulated by DHA may involve an integration of these multiple pathways. By triggering VSMC apoptosis, DHA may play a pathophysiological role in vascular remodeling in cardiovascular disease.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Touyz, Professor Rhian
Authors: Diep, Q.N., Touyz, R.M., and Schiffrin, E.L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
Journal Name:Hypertension
Publisher:American Heart Association
ISSN:0194-911X
ISSN (Online):1524-4563

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