- •RBP4 deteriorates endothelial mitochondrial function and promotes vascular oxidative stress.
- •RBP4 breaks the homeostasis of fusion and fission in mitochondria.
- •RBP4-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells is PI3K/Akt dependent.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in cardiovascular diseases. Elevation of serum retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) in patients has been linked to cardiovascular disease. However, the role of RBP4 on mitochondrial oxidative stress and vascular oxidative damage is not well demonstrated. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of RBP4 on the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and dynamics in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.
Methods and results
RBP4 treatment increased mitochondrial superoxide generation in a dose-dependent manner in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). Exposure to RBP4 also promoted mitochondrial dysfunction as determined by decreased mitochondrial content and integrity as well as membrane potential in HAECs. Incubation with RBP4 suppressed mitofusin (Mfn)-1 protein expression, but enhanced dynamin-related protein-1 (Drp1) and fission-1 (Fis1) protein expression in HAECs, suggesting an impairment of mitochondrial fusion and fission dynamics. Moreover, RBP4 treatment significantly induced endothelial apoptosis, increased the expression of Cytochrome C and Bax, but decreased the expression of Bcl-2. Furthermore, RBP4 stimulation suppressed phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling in HAECs. Finally, RBP4-Tg mice exhibited severe mitochondrial dysfunction and vascular oxidative damage in aorta compared with wide-type C57BL/6J mice.
The present study uncovers a novel mechanism through which RBP4 induces vascular oxidative damage and accelerates the development of atherosclerosis.
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Published online: March 28, 2015
Accepted: March 25, 2015
Received in revised form: March 8, 2015
Received: November 15, 2014
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