Salidroside improves endothelial function and alleviates atherosclerosis by activating a mitochondria-related AMPK/PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway

Sha-Sha Xing, Xiao-Yan Yang, Tao Zheng, Wen-Jing Li, Dan Wu, Jiang-Yang Chi, Fang Bian, Xiang-Li Bai, Guang-Jie Wu, You-Zhi Zhang, Cun-Tai Zhang, Yong-Hui Zhang, Yong-Sheng Li, Si Jin
Vascular Pharmacology 2015, 72: 141-52
Salidroside (SAL) is a phenylpropanoid glycoside isolated from the medicinal plant Rhodiola rosea. A recent study has reported that SAL can efficiently decrease atherosclerotic plaque formation in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice. This study was to investigate the molecular mechanism of antiatherogenic effects of SAL. Given the importance of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in atherosclerosis, we sought to elucidate whether SAL could stimulate eNOS activation and also to explore its upstream signaling pathway. Six-week old apoE(-/-) male mice were fed a high-fat diet for 8weeks and then were administered with SAL for another 8weeks. SAL significantly improved endothelial function associated with increasing eNOS activation, thus reduced the atherosclerotic lesion area. SAL increased eNOS-Ser1177 phosphorylation and decreased eNOS-Thr495 phosphorylation, indicative of eNOS activation in endothelium. The aortic sinus lesions in SAL treated mice displayed reduced inflammation. SAL significantly activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Both AMPK inhibitor and AMPK small interfering RNA (siRNA) abolished SAL-induced Akt-Ser473 and eNOS-Ser1177 phosphorylation. In contrast, LY294002, the PI3k/Akt pathway inhibitor, abolished SAL-induced phosphorylation and expression of eNOS. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis revealed that SAL decreased cellular ATP content and increased the cellular AMP/ATP ratio, which was associated with the activation of AMPK. SAL was found to decrease the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), which is a likely consequence of reduced ATP production. The action of SAL to reduce atherosclerotic lesion formation may at least be attributed to its effect on improving endothelial function by promoting nitric oxide (NO) production, which was associated with mitochondrial depolarization and subsequent activation of the AMPK/PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway. Taken together, our data described the effects of SAL on mitochondria, which played critical roles in improving endothelial function in atherosclerosis.

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