Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 3 pp 4299—4316
Overexpression of long noncoding RNA ANRIL inhibits phenotypic switching of vascular smooth muscle cells to prevent atherosclerotic plaque development in vivo
- 1 Department of Geriatric Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China
- 2 Department of Cardiology, The First People's Hospital of Chenzhou, Chenzhou 423000, China
- 3 National Clinical Research Center for Geriatric Disorders, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China
Received: June 3, 2020 Accepted: November 5, 2020 Published: December 19, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202392
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Phenotypic switching of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a key role in atherosclerosis. Long noncoding RNA ANRIL (lncRNA-ANRIL) is critical in vascular homeostasis. Metformin produces multiple beneficial effects in atherosclerosis. However, the underlying mechanisms need to be elucidated.
Methods and Results: Metformin increased lncRNA-ANRIL expression and AMPK activity in cultured VSMCs, and inhibited the phenotypic switching of VSMCs to the synthetic phenotype induced by platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Overexpression of lncRNA-ANRIL inhibited phenotypic switching and reversed the reduction of AMPK activity in PDGF-treated VSMCs. While, gene knockdown of lncRNA-ANRIL by adenovirus or silence of AMPKγ through siRNA abolished AMPK activation induced by metformin in VSMCs. RNA-immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that the affinity of lncRNA-ANRIL to AMPKγ subunit was increased by metformin. In vivo, administration of metformin increased the levels of lncRNA-ANRIL, suppressed VSMC phenotypic switching, and prevented the development of atherosclerotic plaque in Apoe-/- mice fed with western diet. These protective effects of metformin were abolished by infecting Apoe-/- mice with adenovirus expressing lncRNA-ANRIL shRNA. The levels of AMPK phosphorylation, AMPK activity, and lncRNA-ANRIL expression were decreased in human atherosclerotic lesions. Conclusion: Metformin activates AMPK to suppress the formation of atherosclerotic plaque through upregulation of lncRNA-ANRIL.