Background: Inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, play a key role in the pathogenesis of occlusive vascular diseases. Activation of vitamin D receptors (VDR) elicits both growth-inhibitory and anti-inflammatory effects. Here, we investigated the expression of TNF-α and VDR in post-angioplasty coronary artery neointimal lesions of hypercholesterolemic swine and examined the effect of vitamin D deficiency on the development of coronary restenosis. We also examined the effect of calcitriol on cell proliferation and effect of TNF-α on VDR activity and expression in porcine coronary artery smooth muscle cells (PCASMCs) in-vitro. Methodology/Principal Findings: Expression of VDR and TNF-α and the effect of vitamin D deficiency in post-angioplasty coronary arteries were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and histomorphometry. Cell proliferation was examined by thymidine and BrdU incorporation assays in cultured PCASMCs. Effect of TNF-α-stimulation on the activity and expression of VDR was analyzed by luciferase assay, immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry. In-vivo, morphometric analysis of the tissues revealed typical lesions with significant neointimal proliferation. Histological evaluation showed expression of smooth muscle α-actin and significantly increased expression of TNF-α in neointimal lesions. Interestingly, there was significantly decreased expression of VDR in PCASMCs of neointimal region compared to normal media. Indeed, post-balloon angioplasty restenosis was significantly higher in vitamin D-deficient hypercholesterolemic swine compared to vitamin D-sufficient group. In-vitro, calcitriol inhibited both serum- and PDGF-BB-induced proliferation in PCASMCs and TNF-α-stimulation significantly decreased the expression and activity of VDR in PCASMCs. Conclusions/Significance: These data suggest that significant downregulation of VDR in proliferating smooth muscle cells in neointimal lesions could be due to atherogenic cytokines, including TNF-α. Vitamin D deficiency potentiates the development of coronary restenosis. Calcitriol has anti-proliferative properties in PCASMCs and these actions are mediated through VDR. This could be a potential mechanism for uncontrolled growth of neointimal cells in injured arteries leading to restenosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)