KLF11 protects against abdominal aortic aneurysm through inhibition of endothelial cell dysfunction

JCI Insight. 2021 Mar 8;6(5):e141673. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.141673.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a life-threatening degenerative vascular disease. Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction is implicated in AAA. Our group recently demonstrated that Krüppel-like factor 11 (KLF11) plays an essential role in maintaining vascular homeostasis, at least partially through inhibition of EC inflammatory activation. However, the functions of endothelial KLF11 in AAA remain unknown. Here we found that endothelial KLF11 expression was reduced in the ECs from human aneurysms and was time dependently decreased in the aneurysmal endothelium from both elastase- and Pcsk9/AngII-induced AAA mouse models. KLF11 deficiency in ECs markedly aggravated AAA formation, whereas EC-selective KLF11 overexpression markedly inhibited AAA formation. Mechanistically, KLF11 not only inhibited the EC inflammatory response but also diminished MMP9 expression and activity and reduced NADPH oxidase 2-mediated production of reactive oxygen species in ECs. In addition, KLF11-deficient ECs induced smooth muscle cell dedifferentiation and apoptosis. Overall, we established endothelial KLF11 as a potentially novel factor protecting against AAA and a potential target for intervention in aortic aneurysms.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Vascular Biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Dedifferentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Endothelial Cells* / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • KLF11 protein, human
  • Repressor Proteins