Mutual amplification of corticosteroids and angiotensin systems in human vascular smooth muscle cells and carotid atheroma
- 269 Downloads
The involvement of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and cortisol in increased cardiovascular risk is well known. If numerous relationships between RAAS and corticosteroids have been described, their interactions within the arterial wall, especially during the transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and the atheroma formation, are not established. Here, we clarified the relationships between mRNA levels of corticosteroid and angiotensin system components using cortisol, fludrocortisone, and angiotensin II treatments of cultured VSMCs maintained in a contractile phenotype or induced to a lipid storing phenotype. We then determined the quantitative relationships between the mRNA content of these components measured with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), in the atheroma plaque and nearby macroscopically intact tissue (MIT) from 27 human carotid endarterectomy samples. In both VSMC phenotypes, cortisol markedly increased both angiotensinogen (AGT) and AT1-receptor (AT1R) mRNA levels. These effects of cortisol were mediated via glucocorticoid receptor-α (GRα) without any illicit activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). Angiotensin II increased GRα, 11βHSD1, CYP11B1, as well as CYP11B2 mRNAs and decreased AT1R in contractile VSMC; only GRα and CYP11B2 were increased in lipid storing VSMCs, while MR and AGT mRNAs decreased. In endarterectomy specimens, positive correlations between mRNA levels of AGT and aldosterone synthase or 11βHSD1 in MIT and of AT1R and MR in atheroma were detected. The arterial tissue angiotensin system is a target for local glucocorticoids and arterial glucocorticoids for angiotensin II. Both systems appear activated in lipid storing VSMCs and strongly correlated in vivo, and their mutual amplification may contribute to the development of atheroma.
Cortisol increases angiotensin II signaling in VSMCs via GRα.
Angiotensin II stimulates cortisol signaling through increased GRα and 11β-HSD1.
Corticoid and angiotensin receptors are strongly correlated in the arterial wall.
These correlations are maintained at different stages of atheroma development.
An auto-amplification loop between angiotensin and cortisol signaling favors atherogenesis.
KeywordsAtherosclerosis Adipocyte Transdifferentiation Lipid storage Angiotensin Glucocorticoids Mineralocorticoids Nuclear receptors Type 2 diabetes Artery
- 18.Declaration of Helsinki (1997) Recommendations guiding physicians in biomedical research involving human subjects. Cardiovasc Res 25:2–3Google Scholar
- 21.Stary HC, Chandler AB, Dinsmore RE et al (1995) A definition of advanced types of atherosclerotic lesions and a histological classification of atherosclerosis: a report from the Committee on Vascular Lesions of the Council on Arteriosclerosis, American Heart Association. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 15:1512–1531PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar