PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54625. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054625. Epub 2013 Jan 22.
Weng S, Sprague JE, Oh J, Riek AE, Chin K, Garcia M, Bernal-Mizrachi C.
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America.
Multiple epidemiological studies link vitamin D deficiency to increased cardiovascular disease (CVD), but causality and possible mechanisms underlying these associations are not established. To clarify the role of vitamin D-deficiency in CVD in vivo, we generated mouse models of diet-induced vitamin D deficiency in two backgrounds (LDL receptor- and ApoE-null mice) that resemble humans with diet-induced hypertension and atherosclerosis. Mice were fed vitamin D-deficient or -sufficient chow for 6 weeks and then switched to high fat (HF) vitamin D-deficient or -sufficient diet for 8-10 weeks. Mice with diet-induced vitamin D deficiency showed increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high plasma renin, and decreased urinary sodium excretion.
Hypertension was reversed and renin was suppressed by returning chow-fed vitamin D-deficient mice to vitamin D-sufficient chow diet for 6 weeks.
On a HF diet, vitamin D-deficient mice had ∼2-fold greater atherosclerosis in the aortic arch and ∼2-8-fold greater atherosclerosis in the thoracic and abdominal aorta compared to vitamin D-sufficient mice. In the aortic root, HF-fed vitamin D-deficient mice had increased macrophage infiltration with increased fat accumulation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress activation, but a lower prevalence of the M1 macrophage phenotype within atherosclerotic plaques. Similarly, peritoneal macrophages from vitamin D-deficient mice displayed an M2-predominant phenotype with increased foam cell formation and ER stress.
Treatment of vitamin D-deficient mice with the ER stress reliever PBA during HF feeding suppressed atherosclerosis, decreased peritoneal macrophage foam cell formation, and downregulated ER stress proteins without changing blood pressure.
Thus, we suggest that vitamin D deficiency activates both the renin angiotensin system and macrophage ER stress to contribute to the development of hypertension and accelerated atherosclerosis, highlighting vitamin D replacement as a potential therapy to reduce blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
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