New signaling molecule in atherosclerotic plaque formation

New signaling molecule in atherosclerotic plaque formation

Signalling pathways that control endothelial cell (EC) permeability, leukocyte adhesion and inflammation are pivotal for atherosclerosis initiation and progression.

Researchers demonstrate that the Sterile-20-like mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (MAP4K4), which has been implicated in inflammation, is abundantly expressed in ECs and in atherosclerotic plaques from mice and humans.

On the basis of endothelial-specific MAP4K4 gene silencing and gene ablation experiments in Apoe−/− mice, authors show that MAP4K4 in ECs markedly promotes Western diet-induced aortic macrophage accumulation and atherosclerotic plaque development.

Treatment of Apoe−/− and Ldlr/ mice with a selective small-molecule MAP4K4 inhibitor also markedly reduces atherosclerotic lesion area. MAP4K4 silencing in cultured ECs attenuates cell surface adhesion molecule expression while reducing nuclear localization and activity of NFκB, which is critical for promoting EC activation and atherosclerosis.

Taken together, these results reveal that MAP4K4 is a key signalling node that promotes immune cell recruitment in atherosclerosis.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151221/ncomms9995/full/ncomms9995.html
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