Publications by authors named "Jürgen Pahla"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Deletion of fibroblast activation protein provides atheroprotection.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Mar;117(4):1060-1069

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, CH-8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is upregulated at sites of tissue remodelling including chronic arthritis, solid tumours, and fibrotic hearts. It has also been associated with human coronary atherosclerotic plaques. Yet, the causal role of FAP in atherosclerosis remains unknown. To investigate the cause-effect relationship of endogenous FAP in atherogenesis, we assessed the effects of constitutive Fap deletion on plaque formation in atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E (Apoe) or low-density lipoprotein receptor (Ldlr) knockout mice.

Methods And Results: Using en face analyses of thoraco-abdominal aortae and aortic sinus cross-sections, we demonstrate that Fap deficiency decreased plaque formation in two atherosclerotic mouse models (-46% in Apoe and -34% in Ldlr knockout mice). As a surrogate of plaque vulnerability fibrous cap thickness was used; it was increased in Fap-deficient mice, whereas Sirius red staining demonstrated that total collagen content remained unchanged. Using polarized light, atherosclerotic lesions from Fap-deficient mice displayed increased FAP targets in terms of enhanced collagen birefringence in plaques and increased pre-COL3A1 expression in aortic lysates. Analyses of the Stockholm Atherosclerosis Gene Expression data revealed that FAP expression was increased in human atherosclerotic compared to non-atherosclerotic arteries.

Conclusions: Our data provide causal evidence that constitutive Fap deletion decreases progression of experimental atherosclerosis and increases features of plaque stability with decreased collagen breakdown. Thus, inhibition of FAP expression or activity may not only represent a promising therapeutic target in atherosclerosis but appears safe at the experimental level for FAP-targeted cancer therapies.
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March 2021

Sirt6 deletion in bone marrow-derived cells increases atherosclerosis - Central role of macrophage scavenger receptor 1.

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2020 02 21;139:24-32. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, Zurich University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Aims: Sirtuin 6 (Sirt6) is a NAD-dependent deacetylase that plays a key role in DNA repair, inflammation and lipid regulation. Sirt6-null mice show severe metabolic defects and accelerated aging. Macrophage-foam cell formation via scavenger receptors is a key step in atherogenesis. We determined the effects of bone marrow-restricted Sirt6 deletion on foam cell formation and atherogenesis using a mouse model.

Methods And Results: Sirt6 deletion in bone marrow-derived cells increased aortic plaques, lipid content and macrophage numbers in recipient Apoe mice fed a high-cholesterol diet for 12 weeks (n = 12-14, p < .001). In RAW macrophages, Sirt6 overexpression reduced oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) uptake, Sirt6 knockdown enhanced it and increased mRNA and protein levels of macrophage scavenger receptor 1 (Msr1), whereas levels of other oxLDL uptake and efflux transporters remained unchanged. Similarly, in human primary macrophages, Sirt6 knockdown increased MSR1 protein levels and oxLDL uptake. Double knockdown of Sirt6 and Msr1 abolished the increase in oxLDL uptake observed upon Sirt6 single knockdown. FACS analyses of macrophages from aortic plaques of Sirt6-deficient bone marrow-transplanted mice showed increased MSR1 protein expression. Double knockdown of Sirt6 and the transcription factor c-Myc in RAW cells abolished the increase in Msr1 mRNA and protein levels; c-Myc overexpression increased Msr1 mRNA and protein levels.

Conclusions: Loss of Sirt6 in bone marrow-derived cells is proatherogenic; hereby macrophages play an important role given a c-Myc-dependent increase in MSR1 protein expression and an enhanced oxLDL uptake in human and murine macrophages. These findings assign endogenous SIRT6 in macrophages an important atheroprotective role.
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February 2020

Endothelial SIRT6 blunts stroke size and neurological deficit by preserving blood-brain barrier integrity: a translational study.

Eur Heart J 2020 04;41(16):1575-1587

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, Schlieren 8952, Switzerland.

Aims: Aging is an established risk factor for stroke; genes regulating longevity are implicated in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke where to date, therapeutic options remain limited. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is crucially involved in ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) brain injury thus representing an attractive target for developing novel therapeutic agents. Given the role of endothelial cells in the BBB, we hypothesized that the endothelial-specific expression of the recently described longevity gene SIRT6 may exhibit protective properties in stroke.

Methods And Results: SIRT6 endothelial expression was reduced following stroke. Endothelial-specific Sirt6 knockout (eSirt6-/-) mice, as well as animals in which Sirt6 overexpression was post-ischaemically induced, underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). eSirt6-/- animals displayed increased infarct volumes, mortality, and neurological deficit after tMCAO, as compared to control littermates. Conversely, post-ischaemic Sirt6 overexpression decreased infarct size and neurological deficit. Analysis of ischaemic brain sections revealed increased BBB damage and endothelial expression of cleaved caspase-3 in eSIRT6-/- mice as compared to controls. In primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVECs), hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) reduced SIRT6 expression and SIRT6 silencing impaired the barrier function (transendothelial resistance) similar to what was observed in mice exposed to I/R. Further, SIRT6-silenced HBMVECs exposed to H/R showed reduced viability, increased cleaved caspase-3 expression and reduced activation of the survival pathway Akt. In ischaemic stroke patients, SIRT6 expression was higher in those with short-term neurological improvement as assessed by NIHSS scale and correlated with stroke outcome.

Conclusion: Endothelial SIRT6 exerts a protective role in ischaemic stroke by blunting I/R-mediated BBB damage and thus, it may represent an interesting novel therapeutic target to be explored in future clinical investigation.
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April 2020

Loss of Sirt3 accelerates arterial thrombosis by increasing formation of neutrophil extracellular traps and plasma tissue factor activity.

Cardiovasc Res 2018 07;114(8):1178-1188

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Sirtuin 3 (Sirt3) is a mitochondrial, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent deacetylase that reduces oxidative stress by activation of superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2). Oxidative stress enhances arterial thrombosis. This study investigated the effects of genetic Sirt3 deletion on arterial thrombosis in mice in an inflammatory setting and assessed the clinical relevance of these findings in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

Methods And Results: Using a laser-induced carotid thrombosis model with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge, in vivo time to thrombotic occlusion in Sirt3-/- mice (n = 6) was reduced by half compared to Sirt3+/+ wild-type (n = 8, P < 0.01) controls. Ex vivo analyses of whole blood using rotational thromboelastometry revealed accelerated clot formation and increased clot stability in Sirt3-/- compared to wild-type blood. rotational thromboelastometry of cell-depleted plasma showed accelerated clotting initiation in Sirt3-/- mice, whereas overall clot formation and firmness remained unaffected. Ex vivo LPS-induced neutrophil extracellular trap formation was increased in Sirt3-/- bone marrow-derived neutrophils. Plasma tissue factor (TF) levels and activity were elevated in Sirt3-/- mice, whereas plasma levels of other coagulation factors and TF expression in arterial walls remained unchanged. SOD2 expression in bone marrow -derived Sirt3-/- neutrophils was reduced. In STEMI patients, transcriptional levels of Sirt3 and its target SOD2 were lower in CD14+ leukocytes compared with healthy donors (n = 10 each, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Sirt3 loss-of-function enhances experimental thrombosis in vivo via an increase of neutrophil extracellular traps and elevation of TF suggesting thrombo-protective effects of endogenous Sirt3. Acute coronary thrombosis in STEMI patients is associated with lower expression levels of SIRT3 and SOD2 in CD14+ leukocytes. Therefore, enhancing SIRT3 activity by pan-sirtuin activating NAD+-boosters may provide a novel therapeutic target to prevent or treat thrombotic arterial occlusion in myocardial infarction or stroke.
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July 2018