NOD2-Mediated Innate Immune Signaling Regulates the Eicosanoids in Atherosclerosis
Objective—The activity of eicosanoid pathways is critical to the inflammatory and immune responses that are associated with the progression of atherosclerosis. Yet, the signals that regulate these pathways are poorly understood. Here, we address whether the innate immune signals of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain–containing protein (NOD) 2 affect eicosanoids metabolism in atherosclerosis.
Approach and Results—Analysis of human carotid plaques revealed that NOD2 was abundantly expressed at both mRNA and protein level by endothelial cells and macrophages. Stimulation of NOD2 in ex vivo–cultured carotid plaques by muramyl dipeptide, an extrinsic ligand of NOD2, led to release of prostaglandin E2, upregulation of cyclooxygenase-2 and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1, and to downregulation of cyclooxygenase-1. NOD2 was coexpressed with cyclooxygenase-2 in lesional macrophages. NOD2-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in macrophages was dependent on p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and was mediated by interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α. Selective lipidomic analysis of the eicosanoids released by the carotid plaques characterized the metabolites of 12-, 5-, and 15-lipoxygenase as the predominant eicosanoids that were produced by the atherosclerotic lesion in the absence of additional stimuli. Unlike the prostaglandin E2 pathway, metabolic activity of the lipoxygenase pathways was not altered on the short-term activation of NOD2 in carotid plaques.
Conclusions—These results suggest that atherosclerosis may involve enhanced NOD2-mediated innate immunity. Activation of NOD2 preferentially upregulates the prostaglandin E2 pathway. Nevertheless, lipoxygenase pathways, such as 12-lipoxygenase, predominate the basal synthesis and metabolism of eicosanoids in atherosclerotic plaques. These findings provide new insights into the regulation of eicosanoids in atherosclerosis.
- Received December 10, 2012.
- Accepted July 3, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.