Role of PGC-1α in Vascular Regulation
Implications for Atherosclerosis
Mitochondrial dysfunction results in high levels of oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage, leading to disruption of endothelial homeostasis. Recent discoveries have clarified several pathways, whereby mitochondrial dysregulation contributes to endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease burden. One such pathway centers around peroxisome proliferator receptor-γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α), a transcriptional coactivator linked to mitochondrial biogenesis and antioxidant defense, among other functions. Although primarily investigated for its therapeutic potential in obesity and skeletal muscle differentiation, the ability of PGC-1α to alter a multitude of cellular functions has sparked interest in its role in the vasculature. Within this context, recent studies demonstrate that PGC-1α plays a key role in endothelial cell and smooth muscle cell regulation through effects on oxidative stress, apoptosis, inflammation, and cell proliferation. The ability of PGC-1α to affect these parameters is relevant to vascular disease progression, particularly in relation to atherosclerosis. Upregulation of PGC-1α can prevent the development of, and even encourage regression of, atherosclerotic lesions. Therefore, PGC-1α is poised to serve as a promising target in vascular disease. This review details recent findings related to PGC-1α in vascular regulation, regulation of PGC-1α itself, the role of PGC-1α in atherosclerosis, and therapies that target this key protein.
- Received April 21, 2015.
- Accepted June 2, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.