Objective- Mutations affecting contractile-related proteins in the ECM (extracellular matrix), microfibrils, or vascular smooth muscle cells can predispose the aorta to aneurysms. We reported previously that the LRP1 (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1) maintains vessel wall integrity, and smLRP1-/- mice exhibited aortic dilatation. The current study focused on defining the mechanisms by which LRP1 regulates vessel wall function and integrity. Approach and Results- Isometric contraction assays demonstrated that vasoreactivity of LRP1-deficient aortic rings was significantly attenuated when stimulated with vasoconstrictors, including phenylephrine, thromboxane receptor agonist U-46619, increased potassium, and L-type Ca2+ channel ligand FPL-64176. Quantitative proteomics revealed proteins involved in actin polymerization and contraction were significantly downregulated in aortas of smLRP1-/- mice. However, studies with calyculin A indicated that although aortic muscle from smLRP1-/- mice can contract in response to calyculin A, a role for LRP1 in regulating the contractile machinery is not revealed. Furthermore, intracellular calcium imaging experiments identified defects in calcium release in response to a RyR (ryanodine receptor) agonist in smLRP1-/- aortic rings and cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. Conclusions- These results identify a critical role for LRP1 in modulating vascular smooth muscle cell contraction by regulating calcium signaling events that potentially protect against aneurysm development.
Keywords: aneurysm; aortic aneurysm; calcium signaling; mutation; myocytes, smooth muscle.