Signaling of Serum Amyloid A Through Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products as a Possible Mechanism for Uremia-Related Atherosclerosis
Objective—Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients with end-stage renal disease. Serum amyloid A (SAA) is an acute phase protein and a binding partner for the multiligand receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE). We investigated the role of the interaction between SAA and RAGE in uremia-related atherogenesis.
Approach and Results—We used a mouse model of uremic vasculopathy, induced by 5 of 6 nephrectomy in the Apoe−/− background. Sham-operated mice were used as controls. Primary cultures of Ager+/+ and Ager−/− vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were stimulated with recombinant SAA, S100B, or vehicle alone. Relevance to human disease was assessed with human VSMCs. The surface area of atherosclerotic lesions at the aortic roots was larger in uremic Apoe−/− than in sham-operated Apoe−/− mice (P<0.001). Furthermore, atherosclerotic lesions displayed intense immunostaining for RAGE and SAA, with a pattern similar to that of α-SMA. Ager transcript levels in the aorta were 6× higher in uremic animals than in controls (P<0.0001). Serum SAA concentrations were higher in uremic mice, not only after 4 weeks of uremia but also at 8 and 12 weeks of uremia, than in sham-operated animals. We investigated the functional role of RAGE in uremia-induced atherosclerosis further, in animals lacking RAGE. We found that the induction of uremia in Apoe−/− Ager−/− mice did not accelerate atherosclerosis. In vitro, the stimulation of Ager+/+ but not of Ager−/− VSMCs with SAA or S100B significantly induced the production of reactive oxygen species, the phosphorylation of AKT and MAPK-ERK and cell migration. Reactive oxygen species inhibition with N-acetyl cysteine significantly inhibited both the phosphorylation of AKT and the migration of VSMCs. Similar results were obtained for human VSMCs, except that the phosphorylation of MAPK-ERK, rather than of AKT, was subject to specific redox-regulation by SAA and S100B. Furthermore, human aortic atherosclerotic sections were positively stained for RAGE and SAA.
Conclusions—Uremia upregulates SAA and RAGE expression in the aortic wall and in atherosclerotic lesions in mice. Ager−/− animals are protected against the uremia-induced acceleration of atherosclerosis. SAA modulates the functions of murine and human VSMCs in vitro in a RAGE-dependent manner. This study, therefore, identifies SAA as a potential new uremic toxin involved in uremia-related atherosclerosis through interaction with RAGE.
- cardiovascular diseases
- receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE)
- serum amyloid a protein
- Received August 3, 2015.
- Accepted February 29, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.