WNT1-inducible signalling pathway protein 1 stabilizes atherosclerotic plaques in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice via the focal adhesion kinase/mitogen-activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway

pubmed: wnt1 2022-11-24

J Hypertens. 2022 Sep 1;40(9):1666-1681. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000003195. Epub 2022 Jul 25.


BACKGROUND: The migration, proliferation and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are critical for plaque stability. WNT-inducible signalling pathway protein-1 (WISP1), a member of the CCN family of extracellular matrix proteins, can expedite the migration and proliferation of VSMCs. However, its underlying mechanism and relationship with atherosclerosis remain elusive. The relationship between WISP1 and apoptosis of VSMCs has not been determined previously.

METHOD: In the study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between WISP1 and plaque stability and its related mechanism.ApoE-/- mice were divided following groups: the null lentivirus (NC), lentivirus WISP1 (IvWISP1) and WISP1-shRNA (shWISP1) groups. Immunofluorescence, Oil Red O and Masson's staining of the carotid arteries were performed. Transwell wound healing assay, CCK8 assay, and TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining were performed using VSMCs. The levels of WISP1, P38, C-Jun N-terminal kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), mitogen-activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt (also known as PKB, protein kinase B), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), cleaved caspase3, Bcl2 and Bax were detected by western blotting.

RESULTS: The relative area of lipids and monocytes/macrophages in the shWISP1 group increased compared with that of the NC group. However, the relative area of smooth muscle cell and collagen in the IvWISP1 group increased compared with that in the NC group. Therefore, WISP1 could stabilize atherosclerotic plaques. Besides, WISP1 accelerate the migration and proliferation of VSMCs via integrin α5β1 and FAK/MEK/ERK signalling pathways. In addition, WISP1 can inhibit the apoptosis of VSMCs via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway.

CONCLUSION: WISP1 not only inhibits the apoptosis of VSMCs via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway but also enhances the migration and proliferation of VSMCs via the integrin α5β1 and FAK/MEK/ERK pathways. Therefore, WISP1 could enhance the stability of atherosclerotic plaques.

PMID:35881419 | DOI:10.1097/HJH.0000000000003195