Apoliprotein(a)-Induced Apoptosis in Vascular Endothelial Cells

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Tra, John
Apolipoprotein(a) , Apoptosis , Lipoprotein(a)
Elevated plasma concentrations of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) are a risk factor for a variety of atherosclerotic disorders including coronary heart disease. In the current study, the investigators report that incubation of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) with high concentrations of apolipoprotein(a)(apo(a)/Lp(a)) induces apoptosis and endothelial dysfunction in a dose dependent manner. Apo(a), the component of Lp(a) mediates these effects by inducing externalization of Annexin V, DNA condensation and fragmentation which are the hallmarks of death by apoptosis. The pathway of apo(a)-induced apoptosis is associated with overexpression of Bax, caspase-9, p53 phosphorylation, decreased in Bcl-2 expression and activation of caspase-3. Taken together, the data suggest that elevated concentration of apo(a) induces apoptosis in endothelial cells probably by activating the intrinsic pathway. The data also showed that apo(a) induces increased expression of the growth arrest protein (Gas1), which has been known to induce apoptosis and growth arrest in vitro. In addition the data showed that elevated apo(a)/Lp(a) attenuates endothelial nitric oxide (eNOS) activity and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in a dose and time-dependent manner, particularly with small apo(a) isoforms. In summary, the authors proposed a new signaling pathway by which apo(a)/Lp(a) induce apoptosis and this finding could help explain how apo(a)/Lp(a) mediate atherosclerosis related diseases.
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