Impaired mitochondrial respiration in human carotid plaque atherosclerosis: a potential role for Pink1 in vascular smooth muscle cell energetics

Docherty, C. K., Carswell, A., Friel, E. and Mercer, J. R. (2018) Impaired mitochondrial respiration in human carotid plaque atherosclerosis: a potential role for Pink1 in vascular smooth muscle cell energetics. Atherosclerosis, 268, pp. 1-11. (doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.11.009) (PMID:29156421) (PMCID:PMC6565844)

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Background and aims: DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction are thought to play an essential role in ageing and the energetic decline of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) essential for maintaining plaque integrity. We aimed to better understand VSMCs and identify potentially useful compensatory pathways that could extend their lifespan. Moreover, we wanted to assess if defects in mitochondrial respiration exist in human atherosclerotic plaques and to identify the appropriate markers that may reflect a switch in VSMC energy metabolism. Methods: Human plaque tissue and cells were assessed for composition and evidence of DNA damage, repair capacity and mitochondrial dysfunction. Fresh plaque tissue was evaluated using high resolution oxygen respirometry to assess oxidative metabolism. Recruitment and processing of the mitochondrial regulator of autophagy Pink1 kinase was investigated in combination with transcriptional and protein markers associated with a potential switch to a more glycolytic metabolism. Results: Human VSMC have increased nuclear (nDNA) and mitochondrial (mtDNA) damage and reduced repair capacity. A subset of VSMCs within plaque cap had decreased oxidative phosphorylation and expression of Pink1 kinase. Plaque cells demonstrated increased glycolytic activity in response to loss of mitochondrial function. A potential compensatory glycolytic program may act as energetic switch via AMPKinase and hexokinase 2 (Hex2). Conclusions: We have identified a subset of plaque VSMCs required for plaque stability that have increased mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased oxidative phosphorylation. Pink1 kinase may initiate a cellular response to promote a compensatory glycolytic program associated with upregulation of AMPKinase and Hexokinase 2.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the University of Glasgow: Strategic fund 252-146123-001.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carswell, Mr Andrew and Friel, Mrs Elaine and Docherty, Dr Craig and Mercer, Dr John
Authors: Docherty, C. K., Carswell, A., Friel, E., and Mercer, J. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Journal Name:Atherosclerosis
ISSN (Online):1879-1484
Published Online:13 November 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Atherosclerosis 268:1-11
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
617771BHF centre of excellenceRhian TouyzBritish Heart Foundation (BHF)RE/13/5/30177RI CARDIOVASCULAR & MEDICAL SCIENCES