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Activation of Keap1-Nrf2 signaling by 4-octyl itaconate protects human umbilical vein endothelial cells from high glucose

Tang, Chun, Tan, Shengyu, Zhang, Yiqing, Dong, Lini, Xu, Yan
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.3 pp. 921-927
apoptosis, death, genes, glucose, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, lipid peroxidation, mitochondria, mutation, reactive oxygen species, transcription (genetics)
High glucose (HG) induces oxidative injury to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Recent studies have discovered 4-octyl itaconate (OI) as a novel and cell permeable Nrf2 (nuclear-factor-E2-related factor 2) activator. Its potential activity in HG-treated HUVECs was tested here. In HUVECs OI disrupted Keap1-Nrf2 association, causing Nrf2 protein accumulation and nuclear translocation, as well as transcription and expression of Nrf2-ARE-dependent genes, including HO1, NQO1 and GCLM. Significantly, pretreatment with OI potently inhibited HG (40 mM glucose)-induced death and apoptosis of HUVECs. Moreover, OI potently inhibited HG-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, lipid peroxidation, superoxide accumulation and mitochondrial depolarization in HUVECs. Activation of Nrf2 is required for OI-induced cytoprotection in HUVECs. Nrf2 shRNA or knockout (by CRISPR/Cas9 method) reversed OI-mediated HUVEC protection against HG. Further studies showed that Keap1 silencing or Cys151S mutation mimicked and nullified OI-induced activity in HUVECs. Taken together, we conclude that OI activates Keap1-Nrf2 signaling to protect HUVECs from HG.