Publications by authors named "Vera Fehr"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

TNFα induces endothelial dysfunction in rheumatoid arthritis via LOX-1 and arginase 2: reversal by monoclonal TNFα antibodies.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

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

Aims: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting joints and blood vessels. Despite low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), RA patients exhibit endothelial dysfunction and are at increased risk of death from cardiovascular (CV) complications, but the molecular mechanism of action is unknown.We aimed in the present study to identify the molecular mechanism of endothelial dysfunction in a mouse model of RA and in patients with RA.

Methods And Results: Endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine were reduced in aortae of two TNFα transgenic mouse lines with either mild (Tg3647) or severe (Tg197) forms of RA in a time- and severity-dependent fashion as assessed by organ chamber myograph. In Tg197, TNFα plasma levels were associated with severe endothelial dysfunction. LOX-1 receptor was markedly upregulated leading to increased vascular oxLDL uptake and NFκB-mediated enhanced Arg2 expression via direct binding to its promoter resulting in reduced NO bioavailability and vascular cGMP levels as shown by ELISA and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Anti-TNFα treatment with infliximab normalized endothelial function together with LOX-1 and Arg2 serum levels in mice. In RA patients, soluble LOX-1 serum levels were also markedly increased and closely related to serum levels of C-reactive protein. Similarly, ARG2 serum levels were increased. Similarly, anti-TNFα treatment restored LOX-1 and ARG2 serum levels in RA patients.

Conclusions: Increased TNFα levels not only contribute to RA, but also to endothelial dysfunction by increasing vascular oxLDL content and activation of the LOX-1/NFκB/Arg2 pathway leading to reduced NO bioavailability and decreased cGMP levels. Anti-TNFα treatment improved both articular symptoms and endothelial function by reducing LOX-1, vascular oxLDL and Arg2 levels.
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January 2021

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