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      Differences in Retinol Metabolism and Proliferative Response between Neointimal and Medial Smooth Muscle Cells

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          Vascular disease is multifactorial and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play a key role. Retinoids have been shown to influence many disease-promoting processes including proliferation and differentiation in the vessel wall. Phenotypic heterogeneity of vascular SMCs is a well-known phenomenon and phenotypic modulation of SMCs precedes intimal hyperplasia. The SMCs that constitute the intimal hyperplasia demonstrate a distinct phenotype and differ in gene expression compared to medial SMCs. Cellular retinol-binding protein-1 (CRBP-I), involved in retinoid metabolism, is highly expressed in intimal SMCs, indicating altered retinoid metabolism in this subset of cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate the metabolism of all- trans ROH (atROH), the circulating prohormone to active retinoids, in vascular SMCs of different phenotypes. The results show an increased uptake of atROH in intimal SMCs compared to medial SMCs as well as increased expression of the retinoid-metabolizing enzymes retinol dehydrogenase-5 and retinal dehydrogenase-1 and, in conjunction with this gene expression, increased production of all- trans retinoic acid (atRA). Furthermore, the retinoic acid-catabolizing enzyme CYP26A1 is expressed at higher levels in medial SMCs compared to intimal SMCs. Thus, both retinoid activation and deactivation processes are in operation. To analyze if the difference in ROH metabolism was also correlated to differences in the biological response to retinol, the effects of ROH on proliferation of SMCs with this phenotypic heterogeneity were studied. We found that intimal SMCs showed a dose- and time-dependent growth inhibition when treated with atROH in contrast to medial SMCs, in which atROH had a mitogenic effect. This study shows, for the first time, that (1) vascular SMCs are able to synthesize biologically active atRA from the prohormone atROH, (2) intimal SMCs have a higher capacity to internalize atROH and metabolize atROH into atRA compared to medial SMCs and (3) atROH inhibits growth of intimal SMCs, but induces medial SMC growth.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Arterial smooth muscle cell heterogeneity: implications for atherosclerosis and restenosis development.

          During atheromatous plaque formation or restenosis after angioplasty, smooth muscle cells (SMCs) migrate from the media toward the intima, where they proliferate and undergo phenotypic changes. The mechanisms that regulate these phenomena and, in particular, the phenotypic modulation of intimal SMCs have been the subject of numerous studies and much debate during recent years. One view is that any SMCs present in the media could undergo phenotypic modulation. Alternatively, the seminal observation of Benditt and Benditt that human atheromatous plaques have the features of a monoclonal or an oligoclonal lesion has led to the hypothesis that a predisposed, medial SMC subpopulation could play a crucial role in the production of intimal thickening. The presence of a distinct SMC population in the arterial wall implies that under normal conditions, SMCs are phenotypically heterogeneous. The concept of SMC heterogeneity is gaining wider acceptance, as shown by the increasing number of publications on this subject. In this review, we discuss the in vitro studies that demonstrate the presence of distinct SMC subpopulations in arteries of various species, including humans. Their specific features and their regulation will be highlighted. Finally, the relevance of an atheroma-prone phenotype to intimal thickening formation will be discussed.
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            Cellular retinol-binding protein I is essential for vitamin A homeostasis.

            The gene encoding cellular retinol (ROL, vitA)-binding protein type I (CRBPI) has been inactivated. Mutant mice fed a vitA-enriched diet are healthy and fertile. They do not present any of the congenital abnormalities related to retinoic acid (RA) deficiency, indicating that CRBPI is not indispensable for RA synthesis. However, CRBPI deficiency results in an approximately 50% reduction of retinyl ester (RE) accumulation in hepatic stellate cells. This reduction is due to a decreased synthesis and a 6-fold faster turnover, which are not related to changes in the levels of RE metabolizing enzymes, but probably reflect an impaired delivery of ROL to lecithin:retinol acyltransferase. CRBPI-null mice fed a vitA-deficient diet for 5 months fully exhaust their RE stores. Thus, CRBPI is indispensable for efficient RE synthesis and storage, and its absence results in a waste of ROL that is asymptomatic in vitA-sufficient animals, but leads to a severe syndrome of vitA deficiency in animals fed a vitA-deficient diet.
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              Genetic evidence that retinaldehyde dehydrogenase Raldh1 (Aldh1a1) functions downstream of alcohol dehydrogenase Adh1 in metabolism of retinol to retinoic acid.

              Vitamin A (retinol) is a nutrient that is essential for developmental regulation but toxic in large amounts. Previous genetic studies have revealed that alcohol dehydrogenase Adh1 is required for efficient clearance of excess retinol to prevent toxicity, thus demonstrating that the mechanism involves oxidation of excess retinol to retinoic acid (RA). Whereas Adh1 plays a dominant role in the first step of the clearance pathway (oxidation of retinol to retinaldehyde), it is unknown what controls the second step (oxidation of retinaldehyde to RA). We now present genetic evidence that aldehyde dehydrogenase Aldh1a1, also known as retinaldehyde dehydrogenase Raldh1, plays a dominant role in the second step of retinol clearance in adult mice. Serum RA levels following a 50 mg/kg dose of retinol were reduced 72% in Raldh1-/- mice and 82% in Adh1-/- mice. This represented reductions in RA synthesis of 77-78% for each mutant after corrections for altered RA degradation in each. After retinol dosing, serum retinaldehyde was increased 2.5-fold in Raldh1-/- mice (indicating defective retinaldehyde clearance) and decreased 3-fold in Adh1-/- mice (indicating defective retinaldehyde synthesis). Serum retinol clearance following retinol administration was decreased 7% in Raldh1-/- mice and 69% in Adh1-/- mice. LD50 studies indicated a small increase in retinol toxicity in Raldh1-/- mice and a large increase in Adh1-/- mice. These observations demonstrate that Raldh1 functions downstream of Adh1 in the oxidative metabolism of excess retinol and that toxicity correlates primarily with accumulating retinol rather than retinaldehyde.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                July 2006
                28 July 2006
                : 43
                : 4
                : 392-398
                aCenter for Molecular Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Unit, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, bDivision of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Örebro, Örebro, and cDepartment of Medical Sciences/Dermatology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
                94415 J Vasc Res 2006;43:392–398
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 27, Pages: 7
                Research Paper


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