Aim: The water channel aquaporin 1 (AQP1) promotes endothelial cell migration. It was hypothesized that AQP1 promotes neovascularization and growth of atherosclerotic plaques. Methods: AQP1 immunoreactivity and protein abundance was examined in human and murine atherosclerotic lesions and aortic aneurysms. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) knockout (-/-) and AQP1-/-ApoE-/- mice were developed and fed Western diet (WD) for 8 and 16 weeks to accelerate the atherosclerosis process. In ApoE-/- and AQP1-/-ApoE-/- mice abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) were induced by angiotensin II (ANGII) infusion by osmotic minipumps for 4 weeks. Results: In human atherosclerotic lesions and AAA, AQP1 immunoreactive protein was associated with intralesional small vessels. In ApoE-/- mouse aorta, APQ1 mRNA levels were increased with time on WD (n = 7-9, P < 0.003). Both in murine lesions at the aortic root and in the abdominal aortic aneurysmal wall, AQP1 immunoreactivity was associated with microvascular structures. The atherosclerotic lesion burden was enhanced significantly in ANGII-infused AQP1-/-ApoE-/- mice compared with ApoE-/- mice, but neither incidence nor progression of AAA was different. The aortic lesion burden increased with time on WD but was not different between ApoE-/- and AQP1-/-ApoE-/- mice at either 8 or 16 weeks (n = 13-15). Baseline blood pressure and ANGII-induced hypertension were not different between genotypes. Conclusion: AQP1 is expressed in atherosclerotic lesion neovasculature in human and mouse arteries and AQP1 deficiency augments lesion development in ANGII-promoted atherosclerosis in mice. Normal function of AQP1 affords cardiovascular protection.
- Coronary Artery Disease/metabolism
- Angiotensin II/toxicity
- Vasoconstrictor Agents/toxicity
- Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal/metabolism
- Aquaporin 1/biosynthesis
- Mice, Knockout
- Neovascularization, Pathologic/metabolism