1. Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, China.
2. Hubei Provincial Engineering Research Center of Minimally Invasive Cardiovascular Surgery, Wuhan 430071, China.
3. Wuhan Clinical Research Center for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Structural Heart Disease, Wuhan 430071, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Thoracic aortic dissection (TAD) is one of the cardiovascular diseases with high incidence and fatality rates. Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) play a vital role in TAD formation. Recent studies have shown that extracellular S100A4 may participate in VSMCs regulation. However, the mechanism(s) underlying this association remains elusive. Consequently, this study investigated the role of S100A4 in VSMCs regulation and TAD formation.
Methods: Hub genes were screened based on the transcriptome data of aortic dissection in the Gene Expression Synthesis database. Three-week-old male S100A4 overexpression (AAV9- S100A4 OE) and S100A4 knockdown (AAV9- S100A4 KD) mice were exposed to β-aminopropionitrile monofumarate through drinking water for 28 days to create the murine TAD model.
Results: S100A4 was observed to be the hub gene in aortic dissection. Furthermore, overexpression of S100A4 was exacerbated, whereas inhibition of S100A4 significantly improved TAD progression. In the TAD model, the S100A4 was observed to aggravate the phenotypic transition of VSMCs. Additionally, lysyl oxidase (LOX) was an important target of S100A4 in TAD. S100A4 interacted with LOX in VSMCs, reduced mature LOX (m-LOX), and decreased elastic fiber deposition, thereby disrupting extracellular matrix homeostasis and promoting TAD development. Elastic fiber deposition in human aortic tissues was negatively correlated with the expression of S100A4, which in turn, was negatively correlated with LOX.
Conclusions: Our data showed that S100A4 modulates TADprogression, induces lysosomal degradation of m-LOX, and reduces the deposition of elastic fibers by interacting with LOX, thus contributing to the disruption of extracellular matrix homeostasis in TAD. These findings suggest that S100A4 may be a new target for the prevention and treatment of TAD.
Keywords: S100A4, Thoracic aortic dissection, Lysyl oxidase, Vascular smooth muscle cells, Extracellular matrix