Abstract 150: Identification of SYNPO2, SYNM, LMOD1, PDLIM7 and PLN as Novel Markers of Smooth Muscle Cells in Atherosclerosis
Smooth muscle cell (SMC) activation is a hallmark of vascular remodeling associated with downregulation of SMC specific genes and altered cell function. Our aim was to identify a novel set of genes silenced following SMC activation in vascular disease.
We compared microarrays from carotid plaques (n=177) vs. undiseased arteries and symptomatic vs. asymptomatic patients and found that ‘muscle contraction’, ‘muscle differentiation’ and ‘cytoskeleton based migration’ were the most significantly downregulated pathways (p=6.06e-23; 5.22e-11; 4.62e-11 respectively). Genes clustered in these categories were known SMC markers together with a novel set of genes functionally coupled to actin cytoskeleton: SYNPO2, SYNM, LMOD1, PDLIM7 and PLN. Transcription factors regulating the expression of these genes showed enrichment of SRF, MYOD1 and MYOGENIN, known to control muscle differentiation. Downregulation of these genes was validated in independent microarrays from carotid (n=21) and coronary plaques (n=38). Their expression was positively correlated to typical SMC markers both in human plaques (Pearson r>0.8, p<0.0001) and rat carotid intimal hyperplasia (r>0.9, p<0.0001). In microarrays from rat carotid balloon injury, these genes were downregulated in the early phases of tissue remodeling but gradually reappeared in the mature intima. By immunohistochemistry, the proteins localized to SMCs in normal human vessels, but were mostly absent in plaques and restenosis tissues. In vitro, SYNPO2 and PDLIM7 localized to actin filaments, SYNM to cortical cytoskeleton, PLN to nucleus while LMOD1 was rapidly lost in cultured human and primary rat SMCs. Polymorphisms in some of these genes associated with carotid intima-media thickness in high-risk coronary artery disease subjects (n=3400). By eQTL analyses, rs11746443 influenced PDLIM7 expression in plaques. Interestingly, this polymorphism constitutes the binding site for HEY1 transcription factor implicated in vascular development.
We identified a panel of novel SMC proteins, which are lost in vascular disease and reflect the altered phenotype of SMCs in vascular remodeling. Our results indicate that these could be early and sensitive markers of the SMCs dedifferentiation in atherosclerosis.
Author Disclosures: U. Hedin: None. L. Perisic Matic: None. A. Razuvaev: None. M. Sabater-Lleal: None. M. Lengquist: None. C.L. Miller: None. J. Roy: None. M. Kronqvist: None. M. Gonzalez Diez: None. S. Frebelius: None. N. Leeper: None. L. Maegdefessel: None. T. Quertermous: None. G. Paulsson-Berne: None. J. Odeberg: None. G.K. Hansson: None. A. Hamsten: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.