CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 expression and free zinc levels in endothelial cells are differentially regulated by pro-atherogenic versus anti-atherogenic shear stress
Conway, Daniel Elridge
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It is hypothesized that exposing endothelial cells to steady or non-reversing pulsatile shear stress produces a healthy, anti-atherogenic endothelium, whereas a reversing pulsatile shear stress promotes an unhealthy, pro-atherogenic endothelium. To further investigate this hypothesis, a novel parallel plate flow chamber system was used to expose human endothelial cells to a pro-atherogenic reversing shear stress waveform designed to simulate the wall shear stress at the carotid sinus, a region prone to atherosclerosis. Cells exposed to this reversing shear stress were compared to cells exposed to high levels of steady shear stress (15 dynes/cm²), low steady shear stress (1 dyne/cm², the time-average of the carotid shear stress), and static culture conditions. Functional analysis confirmed previous findings that reversing shear stress increases cell proliferation and monocyte adhesion. Microarray results indicate that although there are unique sets of genes controlled by both low average shear stress and by reversing flow, more genes were controlled by low average shear stress. We propose that low-time average shear stress, and not fluid reversal/oscillation, may be the more significant mechanical force. The reversing shear stress system was also used to investigate two shear stress-responsive genes, CYP1A1 and CYP1B1. Both were maximally up-regulated at arterial steady shear stresses of at least 15 dynes/cm² and reversing pulsatile shear stress attenuated expression of both genes. Furthermore, AhR nuclear localization and CYP1A1 protein expression correlate with the flow patterns in the mouse aortic arch. The data strongly suggest that the AhR/CYP1 pathway promotes an anti-atherogenic phenotype in the endothelium. Changes in free zinc were measured under different shear stresses. High steady shear stress dramatically increases the levels of free zinc in endothelial cells as compared to cells grown in static culture. This increase in free zinc is attenuated under reversing shear stress and low steady shear stress, which correlates with an increase in zinc-binding metallothinein proteins and zinc exporter Znt-1. Overall, the findings provide further insight into endothelial responses to mechanical forces and may be important in understanding mechanisms of atherosclerotic development and localization to regions of disturbed flow.