Aim: Drug-eluting stents are widely used to prevent restenosis but are associated with late endothelial damage. To understand the basis for this effect, we have studied the consequences of a prolonged incubation with rapamycin on the viability and functions of endothelial cells. Methods and results: Human umbilical vein or aorta endothelial cells were exposed to rapamycin in the absence or in the presence of tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα). After a 24 h-incubation, rapamycin (100 nM) caused a significant cell loss associated with the increase of both apoptosis and necrosis, as quantified by propidium iodide staining, caspase 3 activity, and lactate dehydrogenase release. Rapamycin also impaired cell mobility, as assessed by a wound test, and promoted the formation of actin stress fibres, as determined with confocal microscopy. Moreover, the inhibitor prolonged TNFα-dependent E-selectin induction, inhibited endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression at both mRNA (quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction) and protein level (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blot), and lowered bioactive nitric oxide output (RFL-6 reporter cell assay). Under the conditions adopted, rapamycin inhibited both mammalian target-of-rapamycin complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2), as indicated by the reduced amount of raptor and rictor bound to mTOR in immunoprecipitates and by the marked hypophosphorylation of protein S6 kinase I (p70S6K) and Akt, determined by western blotting. The selective inhibition of mTORC1 by AICAR did not affect endothelial viability. Conclusion: A prolonged treatment with rapamycin impairs endothelial function and hinders cell viability. Endothelial damage seems dependent on mTORC2 inhibition.
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine