Background and purpose: Lipocalin-2 is a pro-inflammatory adipokine up-regulated in obese human subjects and animal models. Its circulating levels are positively correlated with the unfavourable lipid profiles, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance index. Augmented lipocalin-2 has been found in patients with cardiovascular abnormalities.The present study was designed to investigate the role of lipocalin-2 in regulating endothelial function and vascular reactivity.
Experimental approach: Wild-type and lipocalin-2 knockout (Lcn2-KO) mice were fed with either a standard chow or a high-fat diet. Blood pressures and endothelium-dependent relaxations/contractions were monitored at 2 week intervals.
Results: Systolic blood pressure was elevated by high-fat diet in wild-type mice but not in Lcn2-KO mice. Endothelial dysfunction, reflected by the impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations to insulin and augmented endothelium-dependent contractions to ACh, was induced by high-fat diet in wild-type mice. In contrast, Lcn2-KO mice were largely protected from the deterioration of endothelial function caused by dietary challenges. The eNOS dimer/monomer ratio, NO bioavailability, basal and insulin-stimulated PKB/eNOS phosphorylation responses were higher in aortae of Lcn2-KO mice. Administration of lipocalin-2 attenuated endothelium-dependent relaxations to insulin and promoted endothelium-dependent contractions to ACh. It induced eNOS uncoupling and elevated COX expression in the arteries. Treatment with sulphaphenazole, a selective inhibitor of cytochrome P450 2C9, improved endothelial function in wild-type mice and blocked the effects of lipocalin-2 on both endothelium-dependent relaxations to insulin and endothelium-dependent contractions to ACh, as well as eNOS uncoupling.
Conclusions: Lipocalin-2, by modulating cytochrome P450 2C9 activity, is critically involved in diet-induced endothelial dysfunction.
© 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.