Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 in clinical and experimental aortic aneurysm disease. Journal of vascular surgery Wang, W., Xu, B., Xuan, H., Ge, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, L., Huang, J., Fu, W., Michie, S. A., Dalman, R. L. 2017


OBJECTIVE: Mural angiogenesis and macrophage accumulation are two pathologic hallmarks of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease. The heterodimeric transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is an essential regulator of angiogenesis and macrophage function. In this study, we investigated HIF-1 expression and activity in clinical and experimental AAA disease.METHODS: Human aortic samples were obtained from 24 AAA patients and six organ donors during open abdominal surgery. Experimental AAAs were created in 10-week-old male C57BL/6J mice by transient intra-aortic infusion of porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE). Expression of HIF-1alpha and its target gene messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were assessed in aneurysmal and control aortae. The HIF-1alpha inhibitors 2-methoxyestradiol and digoxin, the prolyl hydroxylase domain-containing protein (PHD) inhibitors cobalt chloride and JNJ-42041935, and the vehicle alone as control were administered daily to mice at varying time points beginning before or after PPE infusion. Influences on experimental AAA formation and progression were assessed by serial transabdominal ultrasound measurements of aortic diameter and histopathologic analysis at sacrifice.RESULTS: The mRNA levels for HIF-1alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor A, glucose transporter 1, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 were significantly increased in both human and experimental aneurysm tissue. Tissue immunostaining detected more HIF-1alpha protein in both human and experimental aneurysmal aortae compared with respective control aortae. Treatment with either HIF-1alpha inhibitor, beginning before or after PPE infusion, prevented enlargement of experimental aneurysms. Both HIF-1alpha inhibition regimens attenuated medial elastin degradation, smooth muscle cell depletion, and mural angiogenesis and the accumulation of macrophages, T cells, and B cells. Whereas mRNA levels for PHD1 and PHD2 were elevated in experimental aneurysmal aortae, pharmacologic inhibition of PHDs had limited effect on experimental aneurysm progression.CONCLUSIONS: Expression of HIF-1alpha and its target genes is increased in human and experimental AAAs. Treatment with HIF-1alpha inhibitors limits experimental AAA progression, with histologic evidence of attenuated mural leukocyte infiltration and angiogenesis. These findings underscore the potential significance of HIF-1alpha in aneurysm pathogenesis and as a target for pharmacologic suppression of AAA disease.

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