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, 18 (6), 705-7

Apoptosis of Endothelial Cells Triggers a Caspase-Dependent Anti-Apoptotic Paracrine Loop Active on VSMC

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Apoptosis of Endothelial Cells Triggers a Caspase-Dependent Anti-Apoptotic Paracrine Loop Active on VSMC

Marc-André Raymond et al. FASEB J.

Abstract

Increased endothelial apoptosis and decreased apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) are central to initiation of myo-intimal thickening. We hypothesized that apoptosis of endothelial cells (EC) induces the release of anti-apoptotic mediator(s) active on VSMC. We found that serum-free medium conditioned by apoptotic EC decreases apoptosis of VSMC compared with fresh serum-free medium. Inhibition of endothelial apoptosis during conditioning with a pan-caspase inhibitor ZVAD-FMK blocked the release of the anti-apoptotic factor(s) active on VSMC. VSMC exposed to serum-free medium conditioned by apoptotic EC showed increased ERK 1/2 phosphorylation, enhanced Bcl-xl expression, and inhibition of p53 expression. Fractionation of the conditioned medium followed by mass spectral analysis identified one bioactive component as a C-terminal fragment of the domain V of perlecan. Serum-free medium supplemented with either a synthetic peptide containing the EGF motif of the domain V of perlecan or chondroitin 4-sulfate, a glycosaminoglycan anchored on the domain V of perlecan, increased ERK 1/2 phosphorylation and Bcl-xl protein levels while inhibiting apoptosis of VSMC. These results suggest that a proteolytic activity developing downstream of activated caspases in apoptotic EC initiates degradation of pericellular proteoglycans and liberation of bioactive fragments with a robust impact on inhibition of VSMC apoptosis.

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