Glutathione-S-transferase A4-4 modulates oxidative stress in endothelium: possible role in human atherosclerosis


      The role of α-class mammalian glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) in the protection of many cell types, including vascular smooth muscle cells, against oxidant damage has been demonstrated, but the role of GSTs in the endothelial cell is not well studied. In order to examine the role of GSTs in the endothelial cell, a stable transfection of mouse pancreatic islet endothelial cells (MS1) with cDNA of mGSTA4-4, mouse isozyme of GSTs with activity in vascular wall, was established. Transfected cells demonstrated significantly higher GSTs enzyme activity and expressed significantly increased resistance to the cytotoxicity of allylamine, acrolein, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE), and H2O2 (P<0.05). A significantly higher rate of proliferation and lower baseline level of intracellular malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-HNE were present when compared to wild-type or vector-transfected MS1 endothelial cells (P<0.05). Transfection protected MS1 endothelial cells from 4-HNE and H2O2 induced apoptosis by inhibiting phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (p-JNK) and consequent activation of p53 and Bax. In early human fibrous atherosclerotic plaques, immunohistochemical studies demonstrated marked induction of hGSTA4-4 in endothelial cells overlying plaque, and in proliferating plaque vascular smooth muscle cells. Our results indicate that endothelial cell mGSTA4-4 can play a key role in protecting blood vessels against oxidative stress and, thus, is likely to be a critical defense mechanism against oxidants that act as atherogens.


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