Cellular senescence is a mechanism to inhibit the growth of mammalian cells after oncogenic activation, or in response to damage or stress. We describe here the identification of a novel gene, SENEX, that regulates stress induced premature senescence pathways in endothelial cells (ECs) involving p16 INK4a and retinoblastoma protein activation. Endogenous levels of SENEX remain unchanged during replicative senescence but are regulated by H 2 O 2 -mediated stress. In contrast to that previously described for senescence in other cell types, the SENEX induced senescent ECs are profoundly anti-inflammatory. The cells are resistant to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)␣-induced apoptosis, adhesion of neutrophils and mononuclear cells, and the surface (but not cytoplasmic) expression of endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1. Furthermore they are resistant to thrombin induced vascular leak. Senescent ECs such as those lining atherosclerotic lesions may therefore function to limit the inflammatory response. SENEX is also essential for EC survival since depletion either ectopically by siRNA or by highdose H 2 O 2 treatment causes apoptosis. Together, these findings expand our understanding of the role of senescence in the vasculature and identify SENEX as a fulcrum for driving the resultant phenotype of the endothelium after activation. IntroductionCellular senescence together with apoptosis is viewed as a major pathway to control cell proliferation and suppress tumorigenesis. 1,2 Recent evidence suggests that the senescence program may have a broader role, as an active mechanism to limit disease progression. 3 The recognition and impact of senescence on the vascular system is only just emerging. Increased numbers of senescent endothelial cells (ECs) are found in mature atherosclerotic plaques, in vessels from diabetic patients, in postangioplastic restenotic vessels, in coronary vessels of patients with ischemic heart disease, and in hypertensive patients (reviewed in Voghel et al 4 ). Senescent ECs have also been identified in the tumor vasculature in glioma. 5 However, the causes and consequences of these senescent ECs in the different pathologies have not been clearly defined.The recognition of senescent cells relies on several specific criteria. The cells exit the cell cycle but remain viable, they exhibit a large flattened morphology, 6 and show accumulation of senescenceassociated ␤-galactosidase (SA-␤-gal) activity. 7 In addition, they show altered genetic profiles which are likely to be cell type specific. 8 There are 2 broad forms of senescence, replicative and stress induced. Replicative senescence (RS) is mediated through the shortening of telomeres that occurs during each cell division. This shortening eventually registers as DNA damage and triggers ataxia telangiectasia mutated kinase (ATM) activation and initiates a program of cell cycle arrest. 9 Stress induced premature senescence (SIPS) is induced by oncogene activity, 10 oxidative stress, 11 or suboptimal culture cond...
The formation of the vascular network requires a tightly controlled balance of pro-angiogenic and stabilizing signals. Perturbation of this balance can result in dysregulated blood vessel morphogenesis and drive pathologies including cancer. Here, we have identified a novel gene, ARHGAP18, as an endogenous negative regulator of angiogenesis, limiting pro-angiogenic signaling and promoting vascular stability. Loss of ARHGAP18 promotes EC hypersprouting during zebrafish and murine retinal vessel development and enhances tumor vascularization and growth. Endogenous ARHGAP18 acts specifically on RhoC and relocalizes to the angiogenic and destabilized EC junctions in a ROCK dependent manner, where it is important in reaffirming stable EC junctions and suppressing tip cell behavior, at least partially through regulation of tip cell genes, Dll4, Flk-1 and Flt-4. These findings highlight ARHGAP18 as a specific RhoGAP to fine tune vascular morphogenesis, limiting tip cell formation and promoting junctional integrity to stabilize the angiogenic architecture.
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions predominantly developing in the central nervous system (CNS), with no effective treatments other than surgery. Lossof-function mutation in CCM1/krev interaction trapped 1 (KRIT1), CCM2, or CCM3/programmed cell death 10 (PDCD10) causes lesions that are characterized by abnormal vascular integrity. Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin), a major regulator of endothelial cell (EC) junctional integrity is strongly disorganized in ECs lining the CCM lesions. We report here that microRNA-27a (miR-27a), a negative regulator of VE-cadherin, is elevated in ECs isolated from mouse brains developing early CCM lesions and in cultured ECs with CCM1 or CCM2 depletion. Furthermore, we show miR-27a acts downstream of kruppel-like factor (KLF)2 and KLF4, two known key transcription factors involved in CCM lesion development. Using CD5-2 (a target site blocker [TSB]) to prevent the miR-27a/VE-cadherin mRNA interaction, we present a potential therapy to increase VE-cadherin expression and thus rescue the abnormal vascular integrity. In CCM1-or CCM2-depleted ECs, CD5-2 reduces monolayer permeability, and in Ccm1 heterozygous mice, it restores dermal vessel barrier function. In a neonatal mouse model of CCM disease, CD5-2 normalizes vasculature and reduces vascular leakage in the lesions, inhibits the development of large lesions, and significantly reduces the size of established lesions in the hindbrain. Furthermore, CD5-2 limits the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lesion area. Our work has established that VE-cadherin is a potential therapeutic target for normalization of the vasculature and highlights that targeting miR-27a/VE-cadherin interaction by CD5-2 is a potential novel therapy for the devastating disease, CCM.
Age is the greatest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, inflammation and age (senescence) have been linked at both the clinical and molecular levels. In general, senescent cells have been described as pro-inflammatory based on their senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). However, we have previously shown that senescence induced by overexpression of SENEX (or ARHGAP18), in endothelial cells results in an anti-inflammatory phenotype. We have investigated, at the individual cellular level, the senescent phenotype of endothelial cells following three of the chief signals associated with ageing; oxidative stress, disturbed flow and hypoxia. All three stimuli induce senescence and, based on neutrophil adhesion and expression of the adhesion molecules E-selectin and VCAM-1, a population of senescent cells is seen that is resistant to inflammatory stimuli and thus we define as anti-inflammatory. The proportion of anti-inflammatory cells increases with time but remains stable at approximately 50% by eight days after induction of senescence, suggesting that these are stable phenotypes of endothelial cell senescence. Similar to other senescent cell types, p38MAPK blockade inhibits the development of the pro-inflammatory phenotype but unique to EC, there is a corresponding increase in the number of anti-inflammatory senescent cells. Thus stress-induced senescent endothelial cells display a mosaic of inflammatory phenotypes. The anti-inflammatory population suggests that senescent endothelial cells may have an unique protective role, to inhibit uncontrolled proliferation and to limit the local inflammatory response.
Background Vascular endothelial cell (EC) alignment in the direction of flow is an adaptive response that protects against aortic diseases, such as atherosclerosis. The Rho GTP ases are known to regulate this alignment. Herein, we analyze the effect of ARHGAP 18 on the regulation of EC alignment and examine the effect of ARHGAP 18 deficiency on the development of atherosclerosis in mice. Methods and Results We used in vitro analysis of ECs under flow conditions together with apolipoprotein E −/− Arhgap 18 −/− double‐mutant mice to study the function of ARHGAP 18 in a high‐fat diet–induced model of atherosclerosis. Depletion of ARHGAP 18 inhibited the alignment of ECs in the direction of flow and promoted inflammatory phenotype, as evidenced by disrupted junctions and increased expression of nuclear factor‐κB and intercellular adhesion molecule‐1 and decreased endothelial nitric oxide synthase. Mice with double deletion in ARHGAP 18 and apolipoprotein E and fed a high‐fat diet show early onset of atherosclerosis, with lesions developing in atheroprotective regions. Conclusions ARHGAP 18 is a protective gene that maintains EC alignments in the direction of flow. Deletion of ARHGAP 18 led to loss of EC ability to align and promoted atherosclerosis development.
Aims/hypothesis A major feature of diabetic retinopathy is breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier, resulting in macular oedema. We have developed a novel oligonucleotide-based drug, CD5-2, that specifically increases expression of the key junctional protein involved in barrier integrity in endothelial cells, vascular-endothelial-specific cadherin (VE-cadherin). CD5-2 prevents the mRNA silencing by the pro-angiogenic microRNA, miR-27a. CD5-2 was evaluated in animal models of ocular neovascularisation and vascular leak to determine its potential efficacy for diabetic retinopathy.Methods CD5-2 was tested in three mouse models of retinal dysfunction: conditional Müller cell depletion, streptozotocininduced diabetes and oxygen-induced retinopathy. Vascular permeability in the Müller cell-knockout model was assessed by fluorescein angiography. The Evans Blue leakage method was used to determine vascular permeability in streptozotocin-and oxygen-induced retinopathy models. The effects of CD5-2 on retinal neovascularisation, inter-endothelial junctions and pericyte coverage in streptozotocin-and oxygen-induced retinopathy models were determined by staining for isolectin-B4, VE-cadherin and neural/glial antigen 2 (NG2). Blockmir CD5-2 localisation in diseased retina was determined using fluorescent in situ hybridisation. The effects of CD5-2 on VE-cadherin expression and in diabetic retinopathy-associated pathways, such as the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and wingless/integrated (WNT) pathway, were confirmed using western blot of lysates from HUVECs, a mouse brain endothelial cell line and a VE-cadherin null mouse endothelial cell line. Results CD5-2 penetrated the vasculature of the eye in the oxygen-induced retinopathy model. Treatment of diseased mice with CD5-2 resulted in reduced vascular leak in all three animal models, enhanced expression of VE-cadherin in the microvessels of the eye and improved pericyte coverage of the retinal vasculature in streptozotocin-induced diabetic models and oxygen-induced retinopathy models. Further, CD5-2 reduced the activation of retinal microglial cells in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic model. The positive effects of CD5-2 seen in vivo were further confirmed in vitro by increased protein expression of VEcadherin, SMAD2/3 activity, and platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-B). Conclusions/interpretation CD5-2 has therapeutic potential for individuals with vascular-leak-associated retinal diseases based on its ease of delivery and its ability to reverse vascular dysfunction and inflammatory aspects in three animal models of retinopathy.
Senescent endothelial cells (EC) have been identified in cardiovascular disease, in angiogenic tumour associated vessels and in aged individuals. We have previously identified a novel anti-inflammatory senescent phenotype of EC. We show here that caveolae are critical in the induction of this anti-inflammatory senescent state. Senescent EC induced by either the overexpression of ARHGAP18/SENEX or by H2O2 showed significantly increased numbers of caveolae and associated proteins Caveolin-1, cavin-1 and cavin-2. Depletion of these proteins by RNA interference decreased senescence induced by ARHGAP18 and by H2O2. ARHGAP18 overexpression induced a predominantly anti-inflammatory senescent population and depletion of the caveolae-associated proteins resulted in the preferential reduction in this senescent population as measured by neutrophil adhesion and adhesion protein expression after TNFα treatment. In confirmation, EC isolated from the aortas of CAV-1−/− mice failed to induce this anti-inflammatory senescent cell population upon expression of ARHGAP18, whereas EC from wild-type mice showed a significant increase. NF-κB is one of the major transcription factors mediating the induction of E-selectin and VCAM-1 expression, adhesion molecules responsible for leucocyte attachment to EC. TNFα-induced activation of NF-κB was suppressed in ARHGAP18-induced senescent EC, and this inhibition was reversed by Caveolin-1 knock-down. Thus, out results demonstrate that an increase in caveolae and its component proteins in senescent ECs is associated with inhibition of the NF-kB signalling pathway and promotion of the anti-inflammatory senescent pathway.
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