SREBP2 Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome in Endothelium Mediates Hemodynamic-Induced Atherosclerosis Susceptibility
Background—The molecular basis for the focal nature of atherosclerotic lesions is poorly understood. Here, we explored whether disturbed flow patterns activate an innate immune response to form the NLRP3 inflammasome scaffold in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) via sterol regulatory element binding protein 2 (SREBP2).
Methods and Results—Oscillatory flow activates SREBP2 and induces NLRP3 inflammasome in ECs. The underlying mechanisms involve SREBP2 transactivating NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) and NLRP3. Consistently, SREBP2, NOX2, and NLRP3 levels were elevated in atheroprone areas of mouse aortas, suggesting that the SREBP2-activated NLRP3 inflammasome causes functionally disturbed endothelium with increased inflammation. Mimicking the effect of atheroprone flow, EC-specific overexpression of the activated form of SREBP2 synergized with hyperlipidemia to increase atherosclerosis in the atheroresistant areas of mouse aortas.
Conclusions—Atheroprone flow induces NLRP3 inflammasome in endothelium through SREBP2 activation. This increased innate immunity in endothelium synergizes with hyperlipidemia to cause topographic distribution of atherosclerotic lesions.
- Received March 20, 2013.
- Revision received June 2, 2013.
- Accepted June 6, 2013.