Integrin beta3 regulates clonality and fate of smooth muscle-derived atherosclerotic plaque cells. Nat Commun. 2018 May 25;9(1):2073. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04447-7
Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play a key role in atherogenesis. However, mechanisms regulating the expansion and fate of pre-existing SMCs in atherosclerotic plaques remain poorly defined. Here we show that multiple SMC progenitors mix to form the aorta during development. In contrast, during atherogenesis, a single SMC gives rise to the smooth muscle-derived cells that initially coat the cap of atherosclerotic plaques. Subsequently, highly proliferative cap cells invade the plaque core, comprising the majority of plaque cells. Reduction of integrin β3 (Itgb3) levels in SMCs induces toll-like receptor 4 expression and thereby enhances Cd36 levels and cholesterol-induced transdifferentiation to a macrophage-like phenotype. Global Itgb3 deletion or transplantation of Itgb3(-/-) bone marrow results in recruitment of multiple pre-existing SMCs into plaques. Conditioned medium from Itgb3-silenced macrophages enhances SMC proliferation and migration. Together, our results suggest SMC contribution to atherogenesis is regulated by integrin β3-mediated pathways in both SMCs and bone marrow-derived cells.
Integrin β3 inhibition is a therapeutic strategy for supravalvular aortic stenosis. J Exp Med. 2016 Mar 7;213(3):451-63. doi: 10.
The aorta is the largest artery in the body, yet processes underlying aortic pathology are poorly understood. The arterial media consists of circumferential layers of elastic lamellae and smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and many arterial diseases are characterized by defective lamellae and excess SMCs; however, a mechanism linking these pathological features is lacking. In this study, we use lineage and genetic analysis, pharmacological inhibition, explant cultures, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to investigate supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) patients and/or elastin mutant mice that model SVAS. These experiments demonstrate that multiple preexisting SMCs give rise to excess aortic SMCs in elastin mutants, and these SMCs are hyperproliferative and dedifferentiated. In addition, SVAS iPSC-derived SMCs and the aortic media of elastin mutant mice and SVAS patients have enhanced integrin β3 levels, activation, and downstream signaling, resulting in SMC misalignment and hyperproliferation. Reduced β3 gene dosage in elastin-null mice mitigates pathological aortic muscularization, SMC misorientation, and lumen loss and extends survival, which is unprecedented. Finally, pharmacological β3 inhibition in elastin mutant mice and explants attenuates aortic hypermuscularization and stenosis. Thus, integrin β3–mediated signaling in SMCs links elastin deficiency and pathological stenosis, and inhibiting this pathway is an attractive therapeutic strategy for SVAS.