Flow shear stress and atherosclerosis: A matter of site specificity

Patrizia Nigro, Jun Ichi Abe, Bradford C. Berk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is well accepted that atherosclerosis occurs in a site-specific manner especially at branch points where disturbed blood flow (d-flow) predisposes to the development of plaques. Investigations both in vivo and in vitro have shown that d-flow is pro-atherogenic by promoting oxidative and inflammatory states in the artery wall. In contrast, steady laminar blood flow (s-flow) is atheroprotective by inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation in the vessel wall. The mechanism for inflammation in endothelial cells (ECs) exposed to d-flow has been well studied and includes redox-dependent activation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) that ultimately lead to the expression of adhesive molecules. In contrast, s-flow leads to the activation of the mitogen extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase 5/extracellular signal-regulated kinase-5 (MEK5/ERK5) pathway that prevents pro-inflammatory signaling. Important transcriptional events that reflect the pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory condition of ECs in d-flow include the activation of activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappaB (NFκB), whereas in s-flow, activation of Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (Nrf2) are dominant. Recent studies have shown that protein kinase c zeta (PKCζ) is highly activated under d-flow conditions and may represent a molecular switch for EC signaling and gene expression. The targeted modulation of proteins activated in a site-specific manner holds the promise for a new approach to limit atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1414
Number of pages10
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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