Early Inflammatory Reactions in Atherosclerosis Are Induced by Proline-Rich Tyrosine Kinase/Reactive Oxygen Species–Mediated Release of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α and Subsequent Activation of the p21Cip1/Ets-1/p300 System
Objective—Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in the initial process of atherosclerosis, whereas it remains to be determined how atherogenic stimulus causes ROS-mediated proinflammatory reactions. Here, we focused on proline-rich tyrosine kinase (PYK2)–mediated ROS generation and examined how atherogenic stimulus causes early proinflammatory reactions.
Methods and Results—PYK2-deficient (knockout [KO]) (PYK2-KO) mice were crossbred with apolipoprotein E (ApoE)–deficient (PYK2-KO/ApoE-KO) mice. PYK2-KO/ApoE-KO mice and endothelial cells (EC) were used for the study. Aortic atherogenic lesions in PYK2-KO/ApoE-KO mice were markedly decreased (55% versus ApoE-KO) after 8 weeks of a Western diet. Aortic PYK2 was activated as early as 7 days after the Western diet, when inflammatory cells were not yet activated. Addition of the proatherogenic oxidized phospholipid lysophosphatidylcholine caused activation of endothelial PYK2. Lysophosphatidylcholine-activated PYK2 induced NADPH oxidase–mediated ROS generation and ROS-mediated synthesis of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and p21Cip1/Ets-1. Neutralizing anti-TNFα antibody or knockdown of p21Cip1/Ets-1 system blocked the induction of VCAM-1 and MCP-1. PYK2 deficiency abolished these ROS-mediated proinflammatory reactions. Further analysis revealed that PYK2/ROS-mediated p21Cip1/Ets-1 activation upregulated the transcription of the MCP-1 gene in collaboration with p300 transcription coactivator.
Conclusion—PYK2 is a key tyrosine kinase activated by high cholesterol exposure, which causes ROS-mediated TNFα release and induces TNFα-dependent expression of proinflammatory molecules via the p21Cip1/Ets-1/p300 transcription system.
- Received December 17, 2010.
- Accepted February 8, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.