7-Ketocholesterol Induces Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis via Akt Degradation

7-Ketocholesterol에 의한 Akt 감소와 혈관평활근세포의 세포자멸사

Seo, Kyo Won;Kim, Chi Dae;Lee, Won Suk

  • Received : 2016.01.05
  • Accepted : 2016.02.04
  • Published : 2016.02.25


Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) apoptosis has been identified in various vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and restenosis after angioplasty, and has been known to precipitate atherosclerotic plaque instability and rupture. Oxysterols are known as inducers of apoptosis in VSMC, and 7-ketocholesterol (7KC) is the major nonenzymically formed oxysterol in atherosclerotic lesions. The precise mechanism underlying VSMC apoptosis is still poorly understood. In this study, we investigated whether 7KC causes apoptosis, and characterized its apoptotic mechanisms in primary cultured rat aortic VSMC. Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay and trypan blue assay. Apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, immunoprecipitation, and Western blot analyses. 7KC markedly decreased the VSMC viability in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, and increased the production of 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), a major end-product of lipid peroxidation, which also decreased the VSMC viability. Pretreatment with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine, a well-known reagent of lipid peroxidation-derived aldehydes, significantly restored the 7KC-decreased viability of VSMC. Furthermore, HNE, as well as 7KC, reduced the level of total Akt, a major mediator of cell survival. The 7KC-decreased level of total Akt was significantly restored by pretreatments with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine and N-acetylcysteine. Lactacystin, a proteasome inhibitor, protected VSMC against apoptosis and Akt degradation, but did not inhibit HNE production. In the immunoprecipitation assay, 7KC increased HNE-modified Akt. From the results, it seems that, in atherosclerotic lesions, 7KC induces HNE production in VSMC, and this HNE binds to Akt, proceeding to proteasomal degradation of Akt, through which mechanism the atherosclerotic plaque instability may be facilitated.


4-Hydroxynonenal;7-ketocholesterol;Akt;apoptosis;vascular smooth muscle cell


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