Loss-of-function mutations of the gene encoding Krev interaction trapped protein 1 (KRIT1) are associated with the pathogenesis of Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM), a major cerebrovascular disease characterized by abnormally enlarged and leaky capillaries and affecting 0.5% of the human population. However, growing evidence demonstrates that KRIT1 is implicated in the modulation of major redox-sensitive signaling pathways and mechanisms involved in adaptive responses to oxidative stress and inflammation, suggesting that its loss-of-function mutations may have pathological effects not limited to CCM disease. The aim of this study was to address whether KRIT1 loss-of-function predisposes to the development of pathological conditions associated with enhanced endothelial cell susceptibility to oxidative stress and inflammation, such as arterial endothelial dysfunction (ED) and atherosclerosis. Silencing of KRIT1 in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs), coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs), and umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) resulted in increased expression of endothelial proinflammatory adhesion molecules vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and in enhanced susceptibility to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced apoptosis. These effects were associated with a downregulation of Notch1 activation that could be rescued by antioxidant treatment, suggesting that they are consequent to altered intracellular redox homeostasis induced by KRIT1 loss-of-function. Furthermore, analysis of the aorta of heterozygous KRIT1+/- mice fed a high-fructose diet to induce systemic oxidative stress and inflammation demonstrated a 1.6-fold increased expression of VCAM-1 and an approximately 2-fold enhanced fat accumulation (7.5% vs 3.6%) in atherosclerosis-prone regions, including the aortic arch and aortic root, as compared to corresponding wild-type littermates. In conclusion, we found that KRIT1 deficiency promotes ED, suggesting that, besides CCM, KRIT1 may be implicated in genetic susceptibility to the development of atherosclerotic lesions.
KRIT1 deficiency promotes aortic endothelial dysfunction / Sega, F. V. D.; Mastrocola, R.; Aquila, G.; Fortini, F.; Fornelli, C.; Zotta, A.; Cento, A. S.; Perrelli, A.; Boda, E.; Pannuti, A.; Marchi, S.; Pinton, P.; Ferrari, R.; Rizzo, P.; Retta, S. F.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - 20:19(2019), p. 4930. [10.3390/ijms20194930]