Abstract 102: Cd98 Modulates Atherosclerotic Plaque Morphology by Regulating Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation via the P-38 Map Kinase Pathway
Smooth muscle cells (SMC) are known to migrate and proliferate to form a stabilizing fibrous cap that encapsulates atherosclerotic plaques. It has been shown that CD98hc, a transmembrane protein with a known role in amino acid transport and integrin signaling, is involved in proliferation and survival of various cell types including SMC. Based on these data, we hypothesized that CD98hc deficiency selectively in SMC would have pathogenic effects on atherosclerosis development and plaque composition. To test this, we utilized mice with SMC-specific deletion of the CD98hc (CD98hcfl/flSM22Cre+) to determine the effects of CD98hc deficiency on SMC function in the context of atherosclerosis. We performed in vitro proliferation and survival/apoptosis assays to investigate the role of CD98hc in the proliferation and survival of primary mouse aortic vascular smooth muscle cells. We found that VSMC isolated from whole aortas of CD98hc-/- animals displayed approximately 60% reduced cell counts compared to control (41 ± 8.2% of control) after 5 days in culture. EdU assays in vivo showed a defect in the ability of CD98hc-/- SMC to proliferate, with 25% reduction in EdU-positive VSMC compared to controls (2.3 ± 0.2% vs 3 ± 0.2%). In addition, caspase-3 staining of SMC in vitro displayed a 41% increase in propensity of CD98hc -/- SMC to undergo apoptosis compared to controls (7.9 ± 0.6% vs 5.6 ± 0.5%). Furthermore, the absence of CD98hc in SMC caused a sharp increase in phosphorylated p-38, which was partially abrogated towards control levels when the cells were treated with PDGF-BB to induce proliferation. Long-term atherosclerosis study using SMC-CD98hc-/-/LDLR-/- mice showed that atherosclerotic plaque morphology was altered with increased necrotic core area (25.8 ± 1.9% vs 10.9 ± 1.6% necrotic core area per plaque area) due to a reduction in infiltration of SMC within the plaque (2.1 ± 0.4% vs 4.3 ± 0.4% SM22α positive area per plaque area) compared to control LDLR-/- mice. These data support an important role for CD98hc and its regulation of p-38 MAP kinase signaling in aortic vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and survival. We conclude that CD98hc is critical for the formation of fibrous cap that is important in maintaining the stability of atherosclerotic plaque.
Author Disclosures: S. McCurdy: None. Y. Baumer: None. F. Hess: None. W.A. Boisvert: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.