CD40 Ligand Inhibits Endothelial Cell Migration by Increasing Production of Endothelial Reactive Oxygen Species
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Background— The CD40/CD40 ligand system is involved in atherogenesis. Activated T lymphocytes and platelets, which express high amounts of CD40 ligand (CD40L) on their surface, contribute significantly to plaque instability with ensuing thrombus formation, leading to acute coronary syndromes. Because reendothelialization may play a pivotal role for plaque stabilization, we investigated a potential role of CD40L on endothelial cell (EC) migration.
Methods and Results— Stimulation of ECs with recombinant CD40L prevented vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced EC migration, as determined by a “scratched wound assay.” In addition, activated T lymphocytes and platelets significantly inhibited VEGF-induced EC migration and tube formation in vitro. Because the activation of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase and the release of NO are required for EC migration and angiogenesis, we analyzed the effect of NO. Coincubation with the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP) did not reverse the inhibitory effect of CD40L on VEGF-induced EC migration and tube formation. In addition, EC migration induced by SNAP was completely inhibited by CD40L. CD40L, however, induced the production of reactive oxygen species and reduced endothelial NO bioavailability. This reactive oxygen species-dependent effect of CD40L stimulation was reversed with vitamin C or N-acetylcysteine.
Conclusions— The activation of the CD40 receptor inhibits EC migration by increasing reactive oxygen species. The blockade of EC migration by CD40L may critically affect endothelial regeneration after plaque erosion and thereby may contribute to the increased risk for development of acute coronary events in patients with high circulating levels of CD40L.
Received March 12, 2002; revision received May 29, 2002; accepted May 29, 2002.