Fibroblast growth factor 21 protects against high glucose induced cellular damage and dysfunction of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase in endothelial cells

Xiao-Mei Wang, Shuang-Shuang Song, Hang Xiao, Pan Gao, Xue-Jun Li, Liang-Yi Si
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 2014, 34 (3): 658-71

AIMS: Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a powerful endocrine hormone modulating glucose and lipid metabolism and represents a promising drug for type 2 diabetes. The present study was to determine the effect of FGF21 on high glucose-induced damage and dysfunction in endothelial cells.

METHODS: The protein expression of β-klotho was examined in human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVECs) using immunofluorescence and Western blotting. HUVECs were cultured in medium with normal glucose (NG), high glucose (HG) and HG + FGF21 (30 nM). Cell viability, migration, reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase, nitric oxide (NO) production, intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation at Ser-1177/Ser-633 sites were measured.

RESULTS: β-klotho, the anchor protein of FGF21, is expressed in HUVECs. Administration of FGF21 prevented HG-induced impairment of cell viability, migration, oxidant stress, NO production and intracellular cGMP levels in HUVECs. FGF21 also rescued HG-induced decrease of eNOS phosphorylation at Ser-1177 and Ser-633. HG and FGF21 had no effects on eNOS phosphorylation at Ser-617 and Thr-495. Inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), but not Akt or Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, abolished the protective effect of FGF21 on eNOS phosphorylation at Ser-1177. The protective effect of FGF21 on eNOS phosphorylation at Ser-633 was also abolished by inhibition of AMPK but not by Akt or cAMP-dependent protein kinase A.

CONCLUSION: Our results provide the first evidence that FGF21 protects against high glucose induced cell damage and eNOS dysfunction in an AMPK-dependent manner in HUVECs, and suggest that FGF21 may be a promoting therapeutic agent for vascular complications in diabetes.

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