JOURNAL ARTICLE

Progranulin protects vascular endothelium against atherosclerotic inflammatory reaction via Akt/eNOS and nuclear factor-κB pathways

Hwan-Jin Hwang, Tae Woo Jung, Ho Cheol Hong, Hae Yoon Choi, Ji-A Seo, Sin Gon Kim, Nan Hee Kim, Kyung Mook Choi, Dong Seop Choi, Sei Hyun Baik, Hye Jin Yoo
PloS One 2013, 8 (9): e76679
24098801

OBJECTIVE: Atherosclerosis is considered a chronic inflammatory disease, initiated by activation and dysfunction of the endothelium. Recently, progranulin has been regarded as an important modulator of inflammatory processes; however, the role for prgranulin in regulating inflammation in vascular endothelial cells has not been described.

METHOD AND RESULTS: Signaling pathways mediated by progranulin were analyzed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) treated with progranulin. Progranulin significantly induced Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation in HUVECs, an effect that was blocked with Akt inhibitor. Furthermore, nitric oxide (NO) level, the end product of Akt/eNOS pathway, was significantly upregulated after progranulin treatment. Next, we showed that progranulin efficiently inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated pro-inflammatory signaling. LPS-induced phosphorylation of IκB and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) levels decreased after progranulin treatment. Also, progranulin blocked translocation of NF-κB from the cytosol to the nucleus. In addition, progranulin significantly reduced the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) by inhibiting binding of NF- κB to their promoter regions and blocked attachment of monocytes to HUVECs. Progranulin also significantly reduced the expression of tumor necrosis factor receptor-α (TNF-α) and monocyte chemo-attractant protein-1 (MCP-1), the crucial inflammatory molecules known to aggravate atherosclerosis.

CONCLUSION: Progranulin efficiently inhibited LPS-mediated pro-inflammatory signaling in endothelial cells through activation of the Akt/eNOS pathway and attenuation of the NF-κB pathway, suggesting its protective roles in vascular endothelium against inflammatory reaction underlying atherosclerosis.

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