• Aberrant Phenotype in Human Endothelial Cells of Diabetic Origin: Implications for Saphenous Vein Graft Failure?

      Roberts, A.C.; Gohil, J.; Hudson, L.; Connolly, K.; Warburton, P.; Suman, R.; O'Toole, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; et al. (2015)
      Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) confers increased risk of endothelial dysfunction, coronary heart disease, and vulnerability to vein graft failure after bypass grafting, despite glycaemic control. This study explored the concept that endothelial cells (EC) cultured from T2DM and nondiabetic (ND) patients are phenotypically and functionally distinct. Cultured human saphenous vein- (SV-) EC were compared between T2DM and ND patients in parallel. Proliferation, migration, and in vitro angiogenesis assays were performed; western blotting was used to quantify phosphorylation of Akt, ERK, and eNOS. The ability of diabetic stimuli (hyperglycaemia, TNF-α, and palmitate) to modulate angiogenic potential of ND-EC was also explored. T2DM-EC displayed reduced migration (~30%) and angiogenesis (~40%) compared with ND-EC and a modest, nonsignificant trend to reduced proliferation. Significant inhibition of Akt and eNOS, but not ERK phosphorylation, was observed in T2DM cells. Hyperglycaemia did not modify ND-EC function, but TNF-α and palmitate significantly reduced angiogenic capacity (by 27% and 43%, resp.), effects mimicked by Akt inhibition. Aberrancies of EC function may help to explain the increased risk of SV graft failure in T2DM patients. This study highlights the importance of other potentially contributing factors in addition to hyperglycaemia that may inflict injury and long-term dysfunction to the homeostatic capacity of the endothelium.
    • Elevated expression levels of microRNA-143/5 in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells from patients with type 2 diabetes drive persistent changes in phenotype and function

      Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Alshanwani, A.R.; Warburton, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Ball, S.G.; Wood, I.C.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E. (2014-09)
      Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) promotes premature atherosclerosis and inferior prognosis after arterial reconstruction. Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) respond to patho/physiological stimuli, switching between quiescent contractile and activated synthetic phenotypes under the control of microRNAs (miRs) that regulate multiple genes critical to SMC plasticity. The importance of miRs to SMC function specifically in T2DM is unknown. This study was performed to evaluate phenotype and function in SMC cultured from non-diabetic and T2DM patients, to explore any aberrancies and investigate underlying mechanisms. Saphenous vein SMC cultured from T2DM patients (T2DM-SMC) exhibited increased spread cell area, disorganised cytoskeleton and impaired proliferation relative to cells from non-diabetic patients (ND-SMC), accompanied by a persistent, selective up-regulation of miR-143 and miR-145. Transfection of premiR-143/145 into ND-SMC induced morphological and functional characteristics similar to native T2DM-SMC; modulating miR-143/145 targets Kruppel-like factor 4, alpha smooth muscle actin and myosin VI. Conversely, transfection of antimiR-143/145 into T2DM-SMC conferred characteristics of the ND phenotype. Exposure of ND-SMC to transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) induced a diabetes-like phenotype; elevated miR-143/145, increased cell area and reduced proliferation. Furthermore, these effects were dependent on miR-143/145. In conclusion, aberrant expression of miR-143/145 induces a distinct saphenous vein SMC phenotype that may contribute to vascular complications in patients with T2DM, and is potentially amenable to therapeutic manipulation.
    • Investigating inherent functional differences between human cardiac fibroblasts cultured from non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic donors

      Sedgwick, B.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Bageghni, S.A.; O'Regan, D.J.; Porter, K.E.; Turner, N.A. (2014-08)
      Introduction Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) promotes adverse myocardial remodeling and increased risk of heart failure; effects that can occur independently of hypertension or coronary artery disease. As cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) are key effectors of myocardial remodeling, we investigated whether inherent phenotypic differences exist in CF derived from T2DM donors compared with cells from nondiabetic (ND) donors. Methods Cell morphology (cell area), proliferation (cell counting over 7-day period), insulin signaling [phospho-Akt and phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) Western blotting], and mRNA expression of key remodeling genes [real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)] were compared in CF cultured from atrial tissue from 14 ND and 12 T2DM donors undergoing elective coronary artery bypass surgery. Results The major finding was that Type I collagen (COL1A1) mRNA levels were significantly elevated by twofold in cells derived from T2DM donors compared with those from ND donors; changes reflected at the protein level. T2DM cells had similar proliferation rates but a greater variation in cell size and a trend towards increased cell area compared with ND cells. Insulin-induced Akt and ERK phosphorylation were similar in the two cohorts of cells. Conclusion CF from T2DM individuals possess an inherent profibrotic phenotype that may help to explain the augmented cardiac fibrosis observed in diabetic patients.
    • Mapping the methylation status of the miR-145 promoter in saphenous vein smooth muscle cells from individuals with type 2 diabetes

      Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Huntriss, J.; Keeble, C.; Wood, I.C.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E. (2016)
      Type 2 diabetes mellitus prevalence is growing globally, and the leading cause of mortality in these patients is cardiovascular disease. Epigenetic mechanisms such as microRNAs (miRs) and DNA methylation may contribute to complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We discovered an aberrant type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cell phenotype driven by persistent up-regulation of miR-145. This study aimed to determine whether elevated expression was due to changes in methylation at the miR-145 promoter. Smooth muscle cells were cultured from saphenous veins of 22 non-diabetic and 22 type 2 diabetes mellitus donors. DNA was extracted, bisulphite treated and pyrosequencing used to interrogate methylation at 11 CpG sites within the miR-145 promoter. Inter-patient variation was high irrespective of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Differential methylation trends were apparent between non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells at most sites but were not statistically significant. Methylation at CpGs −112 and −106 was consistently lower than all other sites explored in non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells. Finally, miR-145 expression per se was not correlated with methylation levels observed at any site. The persistent up-regulation of miR- 145 observed in type 2 diabetes mellitus–smooth muscle cells is not related to methylation at the miR-145 promoter. Crucially, miR-145 methylation is highly variable between patients, serving as a cautionary note for future studies of this region in primary human cell types.
    • MicroRNA‐21 drives the switch to a synthetic phenotype in human saphenous vein smooth muscle cells

      Alshanwani, A.R.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; O'Regan, D.J.; Wood, I.C.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E. (2018-07)
      Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Smooth muscle cells (SMC) comprising the vascular wall can switch phenotypes from contractile to synthetic, which can promote the development of aberrant remodelling and intimal hyperplasia (IH). MicroRNA‐21 (miR‐21) is a short, non‐coding RNA that has been implicated in cardiovascular diseases including proliferative vascular disease and ischaemic heart disease. However, its involvement in the complex development of atherosclerosis has yet to be ascertained. Smooth muscle cells (SMC) were isolated from human saphenous veins (SV). miR‐21 was over‐expressed and the impact of this on morphology, proliferation, gene and protein expression related to synthetic SMC phenotypes monitored. Over‐expression of miR‐21 increased the spread cell area and proliferative capacity of SV‐SMC and expression of MMP‐1, whilst reducing RECK protein, indicating a switch to the synthetic phenotype. Furthermore, platelet‐derived growth factor BB (PDGF‐BB; a growth factor implicated in vasculoproliferative conditions) was able to induce miR‐21 expression via the PI3K and ERK signalling pathways. This study has revealed a mechanism whereby PDGF‐BB induces expression of miR‐21 in SV‐SMC, subsequently driving conversion to a synthetic SMC phenotype, propagating the development of IH. Thus, these signaling pathways may be attractive therapeutic targets to minimise progression of the disease.
    • Role of microRNA-145 in DNA damage signalling and senescence in vascular smooth muscle cells of Type 2 diabetic patients

      Hemmings, K.E.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Bailey, M.A.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E. (MDPI, 2021-04-16)
      Increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a significant clinical problem. Despite advancements in achieving good glycaemic control, this patient population remains susceptible to macrovascular complications. We previously discovered that vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) cultured from T2DM patients exhibit persistent phenotypic aberrancies distinct from those of individuals without a diagnosis of T2DM. Notably, persistently elevated expression levels of microRNA-145 co-exist with characteristics consistent with aging, DNA damage and senescence. We hypothesised that increased expression of microRNA-145 plays a functional role in DNA damage signalling and subsequent cellular senescence specifically in SMC cultured from the vasculature of T2DM patients. In this study, markers of DNA damage and senescence were unambiguously and permanently elevated in native T2DM versus non-diabetic (ND)-SMC. Exposure of ND cells to the DNA-damaging agent etoposide inflicted a senescent phenotype, increased expression of apical kinases of the DNA damage pathway and elevated expression levels of microRNA-145. Overexpression of microRNA-145 in ND-SMC revealed evidence of functional links between them; notably increased secretion of senescence-associated cytokines and chronic activation of stress-activated intracellular signalling pathways, particularly the mitogen-activated protein kinase, p38a. Exposure to conditioned media from microRNA-145 overexpressing cells resulted in chronic p38a signalling in naïve cells, evidencing a paracrine induction and reinforcement of cell senescence. We conclude that targeting of microRNA-145 may provide a route to novel interventions to eliminate DNA-damaged and senescent cells in the vasculature and to this end further detailed studies are warranted.
    • Type 2 diabetes impairs venous, but not arterial smooth muscle cell function: possible role of differential RhoA activity

      Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Warburton, P.; O'Regan, D.J.; Turner, N.A.; Porter, K.E. (2014-04)
      Background/purpose Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), frequently resulting in a requirement for coronary revascularization using the internal mammary artery (IMA) or saphenous vein (SV). Patency rates of SV grafts are inferior to IMA and further impaired by T2DM whilst IMA patencies appear similar in both populations. Smooth muscle cells (SMC) play a pivotal role in graft integration; we therefore examined the phenotype and proliferative function of IMA- and SV-SMC isolated from non-diabetic (ND) patients or those diagnosed with T2DM. Methods/materials SMC were cultured from fragments of SV or IMA. Morphology was analyzed under light microscopy (spread cell area measurements) and confocal microscopy (F-actin staining). Proliferation was analyzed by cell counting. Levels of RhoA mRNA, protein and activity were measured by real-time RT-PCR, western blotting and G-LISA respectively. Results IMA-SMC from T2DM and ND patients were indistinguishable in both morphology and function. By comparison, SV-SMC from T2DM patients exhibited significantly larger spread cell areas (1.5-fold increase, P < 0.05), truncated F-actin fibers and reduced proliferation (33% reduction, P < 0.05). Furthermore, lower expression and activity of RhoA were observed in SV-SMC of T2DM patients (37% reduction in expression, P < 0.05 and 43% reduction in activity, P < 0.01). Conclusions IMA-SMC appear impervious to phenotypic modulation by T2DM. In contrast, SV-SMC from T2DM patients exhibit phenotypic and functional changes accompanied by reduced RhoA activity. These aberrancies may be epigenetic in nature, compromising SMC plasticity and SV graft adaptation in T2DM patients.