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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Aug 2023 - 11 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Aug 09

Signal Transduct Target Ther




NPRC deletion mitigated atherosclerosis by inhibiting oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis in ApoE knockout mice.


Cheng C, Zhang J, Li X, Xue F, Cao L, Meng L, Sui W, Zhang M, Zhao Y, Xi B, Yu X, Xu F, Yang J, Zhang Y, Zhang C


Previous studies suggested a beneficial effect of natriuretic peptides in animal models of cardiovascular disease, but the role of natriuretic peptide receptor C (NPRC) in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis (AS) remains unknown. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that NPRC may promote AS lesion formation and instability by enhancing oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis via protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. ApoE mice were fed chow or Western diet for 12 weeks and NPRC expression was significantly increased in the aortic tissues of Western diet-fed mice. Systemic NPRC knockout mice were crossed with ApoE mice to generate ApoENPRC mice, and NPRC deletion resulted in a significant decrease in the size and instability of aortic atherosclerotic lesions in ApoENPRC versus ApoE mice. In addition, endothelial cell-specific NPRC knockout attenuated atherosclerotic lesions in mice. In contrast, endothelial cell overexpression of NPRC aggravated the size and instability of atherosclerotic aortic lesions in mice. Experiments in vitro showed that NPRC knockdown in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) inhibited ROS production, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and endothelial cell apoptosis, and increased eNOS expression. Furthermore, NPRC knockdown in HAECs suppressed macrophage migration, cytokine expression, and phagocytosis via its effects on endothelial cells. On the contrary, NPRC overexpression in endothelial cells resulted in opposite effects. Mechanistically, the anti-inflammation and anti-atherosclerosis effects of NPRC deletion involved activation of cAMP/PKA pathway, leading to downstream upregulated AKT1 pathway and downregulated NF-κB pathway. In conclusion, NPRC deletion reduced the size and instability of atherosclerotic lesions in ApoE mice via attenuating inflammation and endothelial cell apoptosis and increasing eNOS expression by modulating cAMP/PKA-AKT1 and NF-κB pathways. Thus, targeting NPRC may provide a promising approach to the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.