Vitamin D Deficiency Accelerates Coronary Artery Disease Progression in Swine

Songcang Chen, Vicki J. Swier, Chandra S. Boosani, Mohamed M. Radwan, Devendra K. Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective - The role of vitamin D deficiency in coronary artery disease (CAD) progression is uncertain. Chronic inflammation in epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CAD. However, the molecular mechanism underlying vitamin D deficiency-enhanced inflammation in the EAT of diseased coronary arteries remains unknown. We examined a mechanistic link between 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-mediated suppression of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transporter, karyopherin α4 (KPNA4) expression and NF-κB activation in preadipocytes. Furthermore, we determined whether vitamin D deficiency accelerates CAD progression by increasing KPNA4 and nuclear NF-κB levels in EAT. Approach and Results - Nuclear protein levels were detected by immunofluorescence and Western blot. Exogenous KPNA4 was transported into cells by a transfection approach and constituted lentiviral vector. Swine were administered vitamin D-deficient or vitamin D-sufficient hypercholesterolemic diet. After 1 year, the histopathology of coronary arteries and nuclear protein expression of EAT were assessed. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D inhibited NF-κB activation and reduced KPNA4 levels through increased vitamin D receptor expression. Exogenous KPNA4 rescued 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-dependent suppression of NF-κB nuclear translocation and activation. Vitamin D deficiency caused extensive CAD progression and advanced atherosclerotic plaques, which are linked to increased KPNA4 and nuclear NF-κB levels in the EAT. Conclusions - 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D attenuates NF-κB activation by targeting KPNA4. Vitamin D deficiency accelerates CAD progression at least, in part, through enhanced chronic inflammation of EAT by upregulation of KPNA4, which enhances NF-κB activation. These novel findings provide mechanistic evidence that vitamin D supplementation could be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of CAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1659
Number of pages9
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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