Cyclooxygenase-2 in Endothelial and Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Restrains Atherogenesis in Hyperlipidemic MiceCLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
Background—Placebo-controlled trials of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs selective for inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) reveal an emergent cardiovascular hazard in patients selected for low risk of heart disease. Postnatal global deletion of COX-2 accelerates atherogenesis in hyperlipidemic mice, a process delayed by selective enzyme deletion in macrophages.
Methods and Results—In the present study, selective depletion of COX-2 in vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells depressed biosynthesis of prostaglandin I2 and prostaglandin E2, elevated blood pressure, and accelerated atherogenesis in Ldlr knockout mice. Deletion of COX-2 in vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells coincided with an increase in COX-2 expression in lesional macrophages and increased biosynthesis of thromboxane. Increased accumulation of less organized intimal collagen, laminin, α-smooth muscle actin, and matrix-rich fibrosis was also apparent in lesions of the mutants.
Conclusions—Although atherogenesis is accelerated in global COX-2 knockouts, consistent with evidence of risk transformation during chronic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug administration, this masks the contrasting effects of enzyme depletion in macrophages versus vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. Targeting delivery of COX-2 inhibitors to macrophages may conserve their efficacy while limiting cardiovascular risk.
- Received December 3, 2013.
- Accepted February 4, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.