JOURNAL ARTICLE

Osteocalcin attenuates high fat diet-induced impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation through Akt/eNOS-dependent pathway

Jianxin Dou, Huating Li, Xiaojing Ma, Mingliang Zhang, Qichen Fang, Meiyun Nie, Yuqian Bao, Weiping Jia
Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13: 74
24708830

BACKGROUND: Recent studies have demonstrated a protective effect of osteocalcin (OCN) on glucose homeostasis and metabolic syndrome. However, its role in vascular function remains unknown. This study investigated the contribution of OCN to the pathogenesis of endothelial dysfunction in the thoracic aorta of apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-KO) mice.

METHODS: Eight-week-old ApoE-KO mice were given chow or high fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks with or without daily intraperitoneal injection of OCN. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT), insulin tolerance test (ITT),measurement of serum lipid profiles and blood pressure were carried out. Endothelium-dependent relaxation (EDR) was measured by wire myography. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were used to study the role of OCN on eNOS levels in vitro. PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) and Akt inhibitor V were used ex-vivo to determine whether PI3K/Akt/eNOS contributes to the beneficial effect of OCN for the vascular or not.

RESULTS: Daily injections of OCN can significantly improve lipid metabolism, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in ApoE-KO mice. In ApoE-KO mice fed with HFD, the OCN-treated mice displayed an improved acetylcholine-stimulated EDR compared to the vehicle-treated group. In addition, compared to vehicle-treated HUVECs, OCN-treated HUVECs displayed increased activation of the Akt-eNOS signaling pathway, as evidenced by significantly higher levels of phosphorylated Akt and eNOS. Furthermore, a similar beneficial effect of OCN on thoracic aorta was observed using ex vivo organ culture of isolated mouse aortic segment. However, this effect was attenuated upon co-incubation with PI3K inhibitor or Akt inhibitor V.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that OCN has an endothelial-protective effect in atherosclerosis through mediating the PI3K/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway.

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