Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

School of Chinese Medicine

Title

Unconjugated bilirubin mediates heme oxygenase-1–induced vascular benefits in diabetic mice

Abstract

Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) exerts vasoprotective effects. Such benefit in diabetic vasculopathy, however, remains unclear. We hypothesize that bilirubin mediates HO-1–induced vascular benefits in diabetes. Diabetic db/db mice were treated with hemin (HO-1 inducer) for 2 weeks, and aortas were isolated for functional and molecular assays. Nitric oxide (NO) production was measured in cultured endothelial cells. Hemin treatment augmented endothelium-dependent relaxations (EDRs) and elevated Akt and endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation in db/db mouse aortas, which were reversed by the HO-1 inhibitor SnMP or HO-1 silencing virus. Hemin treatment increased serum bilirubin, and ex vivo bilirubin treatment improved relaxations in diabetic mouse aortas, which was reversed by the Akt inhibitor. Biliverdin reductase silencing virus attenuated the effect of hemin. Chronic bilirubin treatment improved EDRs in db/db mouse aortas. Hemin and bilirubin reversed high glucose–induced reductions in Akt and eNOS phosphorylation and NO production. The effect of hemin but not bilirubin was inhibited by biliverdin reductase silencing virus. Furthermore, bilirubin augmented EDRs in renal arteries from diabetic patients. In summary, HO-1–induced restoration of endothelial function in diabetic mice is most likely mediated by bilirubin, which preserves NO bioavailability through the Akt/eNOS/NO cascade, suggesting bilirubin as a potential therapeutic target for clinical intervention of diabetic vasculopathy.

Publication Year

2015

Journal Title

Diabetes

Volume number

64

Issue number

5

Publisher

American Diabetes Association

First Page (page number)

1564

Last Page (page number)

1575

Referreed

1

DOI

10.2337/db14-1391

ISSN (print)

00121797

Link to Publisher’s Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db14-1391

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