Gene silencing of the mitochondrial adaptor p66Shc suppresses vascular hyperglycemic memory in diabetes

Francesco Paneni, Pavani Mocharla, Alexander Akhmedov, Sarah Costantino, Elena Osto, Massimo Volpe, Thomas Felix Lüscher, Francesco Cosentino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


RATIONALE:: Hyperglycemic memory may explain why intensive glucose control has failed to improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetes. Indeed, hyperglycemia promotes vascular dysfunction even after glucose normalization. However, the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon remain to be elucidated. OBJECTIVE:: The present study investigated the role of mitochondrial adaptor p66 in this setting. METHODS AND RESULTS:: In human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) exposed to high glucose and aortas of diabetic mice, activation of p66 by protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) persisted after returning to normoglycemia. Persistent p66 upregulation and mitochondrial translocation were associated with continued reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, reduced nitric oxide bioavailability, and apoptosis. We show that p66 gene overexpression was epigenetically regulated by promoter CpG hypomethylation and general control nonderepressible 5-induced histone 3 acetylation. Furthermore, p66-derived ROS production maintained PKCβII upregulation and PKCβII-dependent inhibitory phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase at Thr-495, leading to a detrimental vicious cycle despite restoration of normoglycemia. Moreover, p66 activation accounted for the persistent elevation of the advanced glycated end product precursor methylglyoxal. In vitro and in vivo gene silencing of p66, performed at the time of glucose normalization, blunted ROS production, restored endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation, and attenuated apoptosis by limiting cytochrome c release, caspase 3 activity, and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. CONCLUSIONS:: p66 is the key effector driving vascular hyperglycemic memory in diabetes. Our study provides molecular insights for the progression of diabetic vascular complications despite glycemic control and may help to define novel therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-289
Number of pages12
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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