Abstract 9566: LRP1 Deficiency Promotes Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis in Atherosclerotic Plaques via PDGF Receptor Mediated Downregulation of Bcl-2
Apoptosis of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) promotes instability of atherosclerotic plaques. Apoptosis is believed to be suppressed by growth factor dependent activation of PI 3-kinase (PI3K). We investigated the effect of LRP1 knockout driven elevated platelet-derived growth factor beta receptor (PDGFR) signaling on SMC apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques. We quantified apoptotic TUNEL-positive SMCs in lesions from 12 months old LDLR-/-/smLRP1-/- double knockout mice. LDLR (low-density lipoprotein receptor) deficiency accelerates atherosclerosis in mice. LDLR-/-/smLRP1-/- increased the percentage of TUNEL-positive cells compared to LDLR-/-/smLRP1+/+ controls (3.6±0.7% vs. 0.7±0.3%,respectively, P < 0.05, n = 6). Mutation of the PI3K binding site in the PDGFR in LDLR-/-/smLRP1-/--F2/F2 mice suppressed SMC apoptosis (2.4%±0.3%, P < 0.05, n = 6) suggesting that the PDGFR exerts proapoptotic effects via PI3K. In vitro studies (Cell Death Detection ELISA) revealed that chronic stimulation of SMCs with PDGF-BB (96 h) led to 3.1±0.4-fold increased apoptosis (n=3, P<0.05). To characterize proapoptotic PDGFR driven signaling pathways we analysed PDGFR mutants in which the binding sites for different signaling molecules were deleted. Lack of PI3K binding completely abolished the proapoptotic effect, whereas a mutant which only binds PI3K was able to induce apoptosis like the WT receptor. Further analysis of PDGFR mutants revealed that activation of PI3K led to induction of c-Myc and decreased expression of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 as assessed by RT-PCR and Westernblotting. siRNA mediated knockdown of c-Myc prevented both, Bcl-2 downregulation and PDGF induced apoptosis. Consistently, immunohistochemical analysis of atherosclerotic plaques from LDLR-/-/smLRP1-/- and LDLR-/-/smLRP1-/--F2/F2 mice revealed that PDGFR dependent activation of PI3K impairs the expression of antiapoptotic Bcl-2. In conclusion, our study identified a new PDGFR driven proapoptotic signaling pathway in SMCs. Chronically elevated PDGFR/PI3K signaling downregulates Bcl-2 via induction of c-Myc. This has direct implications in atherogenesis, as PDGF promotes cell death in atherosclerotic plaques, which can ultimately lead to plaque instability and rupture.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.