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Authors Wang Q, Ren J, Morgan S, Liu Z, Dou C, Liu B
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Journal PLoS ONE Volume: 9 Issue: 3 Pages: e92053
Publish Date 2014
PubMed ID 24632850
PMC ID 3954911

In abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), macrophages are detected in the proximity of aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs). We have previously demonstrated in a murine model of AAA that apoptotic SMCs attract monocytes and other leukocytes by producing MCP-1. Here we tested whether infiltrating macrophages also directly contribute to SMC apoptosis.Using a SMC/RAW264.7 macrophage co-culture system, we demonstrated that MCP-1-primed RAWs caused a significantly higher level of apoptosis in SMCs as compared to control macrophages. Next, we detected an enhanced Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA level and membrane FasL protein expression in MCP-1-primed RAWs. Neutralizing FasL blocked SMC apoptosis in the co-culture. In situ proximity ligation assay showed that SMCs exposed to primed macrophages contained higher levels of receptor interacting protein-1 (RIP1)/Caspase 8 containing cell death complexes. Silencing RIP1 conferred apoptosis resistance to SMCs. In the mouse elastase injury model of aneurysm, aneurysm induction increased the level of RIP1/Caspase 8 containing complexes in medial SMCs. Moreover, TUNEL-positive SMCs in aneurysmal tissues were frequently surrounded by CD68/FasL(+) macrophages. Conversely, elastase-treated arteries from MCP-1 knockout mice display a reduction of both macrophage infiltration and FasL expression, which was accompanied by diminished apoptosis of SMCs.Our data suggest that MCP-1-primed macrophages are more cytotoxic. MCP-1 appears to modulate macrophage cytotoxicity by increasing the level of membrane bound FasL. Thus, we showed that MCP-1-primed macrophages kill SMCs through a FasL/Fas-Caspase8-RIP1 mediated mechanism.

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