Document Detail

Pharmacological Activation of the Melanocortin System Limits Plaque Inflammation and Ameliorates Vascular Dysfunction in Atherosclerotic Mice.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24790139     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
OBJECTIVE: Melanocortin peptides have been shown to elicit anti-inflammatory actions and to promote vascular endothelial function by activating type 1 and 3 melanocortin receptors. Here, we addressed whether these favorable properties of melanocortins could reduce atherosclerotic plaque inflammation and improve vasoreactivity in atherosclerotic mice.
APPROACH AND RESULTS: Low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice expressing only apolipoprotein B100 were fed a high-fat diet for 8 or 16 weeks and treated with either vehicle or a stable melanocortin analog, melanotan II (MT-II, 0.3 mg/kg per day, 4 weeks). We determined plaque uptake of fluorine-18-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose as a surrogate marker for atherosclerotic plaque inflammation and vascular function of the aorta by ex vivo analyses. MT-II had no effect on body weight or composition, or plasma cholesterol levels in atherosclerotic mice. Without attenuating atherosclerotic lesion size or lesional macrophage accumulation, MT-II treatment reduced fluorine-18-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in the atherosclerotic plaques. Resident macrophages in the lesions of MT-II-treated mice were polarized toward the anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype. Systemic inflammation was also attenuated by MT-II intervention as evidenced by decreased plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines. In terms of aortic vasoreactivity, MT-II-treated mice showed enhanced endothelium-dependent relaxations, as well as promotion of vascular sensitivity to nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation, which were markedly impaired in control mice after prolonged duration of diet exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that pharmacological activation of the melanocortin system has therapeutic benefits in pre-established atherosclerosis by limiting plaque inflammation and promoting vascular endothelial function, which may provide a novel therapeutic approach for atherosclerosis.
Petteri Rinne; Johanna M U Silvola; Sanna Hellberg; Mia Ståhle; Heidi Liljenbäck; Henriikka Salomäki; Emilia Koskinen; Salla Nuutinen; Pekka Saukko; Juhani Knuuti; Antti Saraste; Anne Roivainen; Eriika Savontaus
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-5-1
Journal Detail:
Title:  Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1524-4636     ISO Abbreviation:  Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol.     Publication Date:  2014 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-5-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9505803     Medline TA:  Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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