Induction of haemeoxygenase-1 improves FFA-induced endothelial dysfunction in rat aorta

Fang Han, Zongguang Hui, Shuxian Zhang, Ningning Hou, Yali Wang, Xiaodong Sun
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 2015, 35 (3): 1230-40

BACKGROUND: The induction of haemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) exerts beneficial effects in the setting of endothelial dysfunction in obesity. High free fatty acid (FFA) levels are a common feature of obesity and are the primary cause of endothelial dysfunction. The objective of our study was to explore the effects of HO-1 induction on FFA-induced endothelial dysfunction in rats.

METHODS: Rats received FFA treatment with either cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP) to induce HO-1 or stannous protoporphyrin (SnPP) to inhibit HO-1. Endothelial function was determined by measuring endothelium-dependent vasodilatation (EDV). Nitric oxide (NO) production, superoxide production and nuclear factor (NF)-κB expression in the aorta were each determined. The levels of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated kinase (AMPK) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression in endothelial cells were determined via Western blotting.

RESULTS: Induction of HO-1 by CoPP decreased circulating FFA, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and malondialdehyde levels and increased serum adiponectin and glutathione levels compared with the FFA group (P<0.05). High FFA levels resulted in EDV impairment, which was improved by HO-1 induction (P<0.05). Induction of HO-1 increased NO levels and reduced aortic superoxide production and NF-κB expression compared with the FFA group. The FFA group exhibited decreased AMPK expression and eNOS phosphorylation, both of which were enhanced via HO-1 induction (P<0.05). The beneficial effects of CoPP on EDV were partially attenuated in vitro in the presence of inhibitors of AMPK, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), and eNOS.

CONCLUSIONS: HO-1 induction with CoPP improves FFA-induced endothelial dysfunction in the rat aorta. The protective mechanism appears to be related to the activation of the AMPK-PI3K-eNOS pathway as a result of increased adiponectin levels as well as decreased inflammation and oxidative stress.

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