Increased Aortic Stiffness and Attenuated Lysyl Oxidase Activity in Obesity
Objective—One potential mechanism through which obesity exerts adverse effects on the vascular system is by increasing aortic stiffness, a change known to be predictive of increased cardiovascular mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate the pathophysiology that links obesity to aortic stiffening.
Approach and Results—Obese (ob/ob) mice were used to examine physical, morphological, and molecular changes in the aorta in response to obesity. ob/ob mice had increased aortic pulse wave velocity and tissue rigidity. ob/ob aorta exhibited decreases of lysyl oxidase (LOX) activity and cross-linked elastin, and increases of elastin fragmentation and elastolytic activity. The aortas of ob/ob mice were surrounded by a significant amount of proinflammatory and pro-oxidative perivascular adipose tissue. In vitro studies revealed that the conditioned medium from differentiated adipocytes or the perivascular adipose tissue of ob/ob mice attenuated LOX activity. Furthermore, inhibition of LOX in wild-type lean mice caused elastin fragmentation and induced a significant increase in pulse wave velocity. Finally, we found that obese humans had stiffer arteries and lower serum LOX levels than do normal-weight humans.
Conclusion—Our results demonstrated that obesity resulted in aortic stiffening in both humans and mice, and established a causal relationship between LOX downregulation and aortic stiffening in obesity.
- Received August 7, 2011.
- Accepted January 22, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.