Endothelial Dysfunction in Tristetraprolin-deficient Mice is not caused by Enhanced TNF-{alpha} Expression [Gene Regulation]

April 11th, 2014 by Bollmann, F., Wu, Z., Oelze, M., Siuda, D., Xia, N., Henke, J., Daiber, A., Li, H., Stumpo, D. J., Blackshear, P. J., Kleinert, H., Pautz, A.

Cardiovascular events are important co-morbidities in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tristetraprolin (TTP) regulates pro-inflammatory processes through mRNA destabilization. Therefore, TTP-deficient mice (TTP-/- mice) develop a chronic inflammation resembling human RA. We used this mouse model to evaluate molecular signaling pathways contributing to the enhanced atherosclerotic risk in chronic inflammatory diseases. In the aorta of TTP-/- mice we observed elevated mRNA expression of known TTP targets like tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, as well as of other pro-atherosclerotic marker genes, like Calgranulin A, Cathepsin S, and Osteopontin. Independent of cholesterol levels TTP-/- mice showed a significant reduction of acetylcholine-induced, nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation. The endothelial dysfunction in TTP-/- mice was associated with increased levels of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS), indicating an enhanced nitric oxide inactivation by RONS in the TTP-/- animals. The altered RONS generation correlates with increased expression of NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) resulting from enhanced Nox2 mRNA stability. Although TNF-α is believed to be a central mediator of inflammation-driven atherosclerosis, genetic inactivation of TNF-α did neither improve endothelial function nor normalize Nox2 expression or RONS production in TTP-/- animals. Systemic inflammation caused by TTP-deficiency leads to endothelial dysfunction. This process is independent of cholesterol and not mediated by TNF-α solely. Thus, other mediators, which need to be identified, contribute to enhanced cardiovascular risk in chronic inflammatory diseases.