C2238/αANP modulates apolipoprotein E through Egr-1/miR199a in vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro

R. Stanzione, S. Sciarretta, S. Marchitti, F. Bianchi, S. Di Castro, S. Scarpino, M. Cotugno, G. Frati, M. Volpe, S. Rubattu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subjects carrying the T2238C ANP gene variant have a higher risk to suffer a stroke or myocardial infarction. The mechanisms through which T2238C/αANP exerts detrimental vascular effects need to be fully clarified. In the present work we aimed at exploring the impact of C2238/αANP (mutant form) on atherosclerosis-related pathways. As a first step, an atherosclerosis gene expression macroarray analysis was performed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) exposed to either T2238/αANP (wild type) or C2238/αANP. The major finding was that apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene expression was significantly downregulated by C2238/αANP and it was upregulated by T2238/αANP. We subsequently found that C2238/αANP induces ApoE downregulation through type C natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR-C)-dependent mechanisms involving the upregulation of miR199a-3p and miR199a-5p and the downregulation of DNAJA4. In fact, NPR-C knockdown rescued ApoE level. Upregulation of miR199a by NPR-C was mediated by a reactive oxygen species-dependent increase of the early growth response protein-1 (Egr-1) transcription factor. In fact, Egr-1 knockdown abolished the impact of C2238/αANP on ApoE and miR199a. Of note, downregulation of ApoE by C2238/αANP was associated with a significant increase in inflammation, apoptosis and necrosis that was completely rescued by the exogenous administration of recombinant ApoE. In conclusion, our study dissected a novel mechanism of vascular damage exerted by C2238/αANP that is mediated by ApoE downregulation. We provide the first demonstration that C2238/αANP downregulates ApoE in VSMCs through NPR-C-dependent activation of Egr-1 and the consequent upregulation of miR199a. Restoring ApoE levels could represent a potential therapeutic strategy to counteract the harmful effects of C2238/αANP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2033
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 31 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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