Endothelial dysfunction is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and it represents the initial step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Failure to protect against oxidative stress-induced cellular damage accounts for endothelial dysfunction in the majority of pathophysiological conditions. Numerous antioxidant pathways are involved in cellular redox homeostasis, among which the nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)-antioxidant response element (ARE) signaling pathway is perhaps the most prominent. Nrf2, a transcription factor with a high sensitivity to oxidative stress, binds to AREs in the nucleus and promotes the transcription of a wide variety of antioxidant genes. Nrf2 is located in the cytoskeleton, adjacent to Keap1. Keap1 acts as an adapter for cullin 3/ring-box 1-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of Nrf2, which decreases the activity of Nrf2 under physiological conditions. Oxidative stress causes Nrf2 to dissociate from Keap1 and to subsequently translocate into the nucleus, which results in its binding to ARE and the transcription of downstream target genes. Experimental evidence has established that Nrf2-driven free radical detoxification pathways are important endogenous homeostatic mechanisms that are associated with vasoprotection in the setting of aging, atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemia, and cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the present review is to briefly summarize the mechanisms that regulate the Nrf2/Keap1-ARE signaling pathway and the latest advances in understanding how Nrf2 protects against oxidative stress-induced endothelial injuries. Further studies regarding the precise mechanisms by which Nrf2-regulated endothelial protection occurs are necessary for determining whether Nrf2 can serve as a therapeutic target in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Aims The mitochondria are important sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the heart. Mitochondrial ROS production has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy, suggesting that therapeutic strategies specifically targeting mitochondrial ROS may have benefit in this disease. We investigated the therapeutic effects of mitochondria-targeted antioxidant mito-TEMPO on diabetic cardiomyopathy. Methods The mitochondria-targeted antioxidant mito-TEMPO was administrated after diabetes onset in a mouse model of streptozotocin-induced type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetic db/db mice. Cardiac adverse changes were analyzed and myocardial function assessed. Cultured adult cardiomyocytes were stimulated with high glucose, and mitochondrial superoxide generation and cell death were measured. Results Incubation with high glucose increased mitochondria superoxide generation in cultured cardiomyocytes, which was prevented by mito-TEMPO. Co-incubation with mito-TEMPO abrogated high glucose-induced cell death. Mitochondrial ROS generation, and intracellular oxidative stress levels were induced in both type-1 and type-2 diabetic mouse hearts. Daily injection of mito-TEMPO for 30 days inhibited mitochondrial ROS generation, prevented intracellular oxidative stress levels, decreased apoptosis and reduced myocardial hypertrophy in diabetic hearts, leading to improvement of myocardial function in both type-1 and type-2 diabetic mice. Incubation with mito-TEMPO or inhibition of Nox2-containing NADPH oxidase prevented oxidative stress levels and cell death in high glucose-stimulated cardiomyocytes. Mechanistic study revealed that the protective effects of mito-TEMPO were associated with down-regulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Conclusions Therapeutic inhibition of mitochondrial ROS by mito-TEMPO reduced adverse cardiac changes and mitigated myocardial dysfunction in diabetic mice. Thus, mitochondria-targeted antioxidants may be an effective therapy for diabetic cardiac complications.
Calpain plays a critical role in cardiomyopathic changes in type 1 diabetes (T1D). This study investigated how calpain regulates mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. T1D was induced in transgenic mice overexpressing calpastatin, in mice with cardiomyocyte-specific capn4 deletion, or in their wild-type littermates by injection of streptozotocin. Calpain-1 protein and activity in mitochondria were elevated in diabetic mouse hearts. The increased mitochondrial calpain-1 was associated with an increase in mitochondrial ROS generation and oxidative damage and a reduction in ATP synthase-α (ATP5A1) protein and ATP synthase activity. Genetic inhibition of calpain or upregulation of ATP5A1 increased ATP5A1 and ATP synthase activity, prevented mitochondrial ROS generation and oxidative damage, and reduced cardiomyopathic changes in diabetic mice. High glucose concentration induced ATP synthase disruption, mitochondrial superoxide generation, and cell death in cardiomyocytes, all of which were prevented by overexpression of mitochondria-targeted calpastatin or ATP5A1. Moreover, upregulation of calpain-1 specifically in mitochondria induced the cleavage of ATP5A1, superoxide generation, and apoptosis in cardiomyocytes. In summary, calpain-1 accumulation in mitochondria disrupts ATP synthase and induces ROS generation, which promotes diabetic cardiomyopathy. These findings suggest a novel mechanism for and may have significant implications in diabetic cardiac complications.
Intra-articular injection of miRNA-140 can alleviate OA progression by modulating ECM homeostasis in rats, and may have potential as a new therapy for OA.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key feature of injury to numerous tissues and stem cell aging. Although the tissue regenerative role of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) is well known, their specific role in regulating mitochondrial function in target cells remains elusive. Here, we report that MSC-EVs attenuated mtDNA damage and inflammation after acute kidney injury (AKI) and that this effect was at least partially dependent on the mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) pathway. In detail, TFAM and mtDNA were depleted by oxidative stress in MSCs from aged or diabetic donors. Higher levels of TFAM mRNA and mtDNA were detected in normal control (NC) MSC-EVs than in TFAM-knockdown (TFAM-KD) and aged EVs. EV-mediated TFAM mRNA transfer in recipient cells was unaffected by transcriptional inhibition. Accordingly, the application of MSC-EVs restored TFAM protein and TFAM-mtDNA complex (nucleoid) stability, thereby reversing mtDNA deletion and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defects in injured renal tubular cells. Loss of TFAM also led to downregulation of multiple anti-inflammatory miRNAs and proteins in MSC-EVs. In vivo, intravenously injected EVs primarily accumulated in the liver, kidney, spleen, and lung. MSC-EVs attenuated renal lesion formation, mitochondrial damage, and inflammation in mice with AKI, whereas EVs from TFAM-KD or aged MSCs resulted in poor therapeutic outcomes. Moreover, TFAM overexpression (TFAM-OE) improved the rescue effect of MSC-EVs on mitochondrial damage and inflammation to some extent. This study suggests that MSC-EVs are promising nanotherapeutics for diseases characterized by mitochondrial damage, and TFAM signaling is essential for maintaining their regenerative capacity.
Thrombosis and its complications are the leading cause of death in patients with diabetes. Metformin, a first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes, is the only drug demonstrated to reduce cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients. However, whether metformin can effectively prevent thrombosis and its potential mechanism of action is unknown. Here we show, metformin prevents both venous and arterial thrombosis with no significant prolonged bleeding time by inhibiting platelet activation and extracellular mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release. Specifically, metformin inhibits mitochondrial complex I and thereby protects mitochondrial function, reduces activated platelet-induced mitochondrial hyperpolarization, reactive oxygen species overload and associated membrane damage. In mitochondrial function assays designed to detect amounts of extracellular mtDNA, we found that metformin prevents mtDNA release. This study also demonstrated that mtDNA induces platelet activation through a DC-SIGN dependent pathway. Metformin exemplifies a promising new class of antiplatelet agents that are highly effective at inhibiting platelet activation by decreasing the release of free mtDNA, which induces platelet activation in a DC-SIGN-dependent manner. This study has established a novel therapeutic strategy and molecular target for thrombotic diseases, especially for thrombotic complications of diabetes mellitus.
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