Hypoxia Stimulates Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor–Related Protein-1 Expression Through Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-α in Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Objective—Hypoxia is considered a key factor in the progression of atherosclerotic lesions. Low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein (LRP1) plays a pivotal role in the vasculature. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of hypoxia on LRP1 expression and function in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and the role of hypoxia-inducible factor-α (HIF-1α).
Methods and Results—Real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis demonstrated that hypoxia (1% O2) time-dependently induced LRP1 mRNA (maximum levels at 1 to 2 hours) and protein expression (maximum levels at 12 to 24 hours). The delayed hypoxic upregulation of LRP1 protein versus mRNA may be explained by the long half-life of LRP1 protein. Luciferase assays demonstrated that hypoxia and HIF-1α overaccumulation induced LRP1 promoter activity and that 2 consensus HRE sites located at −1072/−1069 and −695/−692 participate in the induction. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed the in vivo binding of HIF-1α to LRP1 promoter in hypoxic VSMC. Hypoxia effects on LRP1 protein expression were functionally translated into an increased cholesteryl ester (CE) accumulation from aggregated low-density lipoprotein (agLDL) uptake. The blockade of HIF-1α expression inhibited the upregulatory effect of hypoxia on LRP1 expression and agLDL-derived intracellular CE overaccumulation, suggesting that both LRP1 overexpression and CE overaccumulation in hypoxic vascular cells are dependent on HIF-1α. Immunohistochemical analysis showed the colocalization of LRP1 and HIF-1α in vascular cells of human advanced atherosclerotic plaques.
Conclusion—Hypoxia upregulates LRP1 expression and agLDL-derived intracellular CE accumulation in human VSMC through HIF-1α induction.
- Received October 20, 2010.
- Accepted March 9, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.