Endothelial-specific overexpression of histone deacetylase 2 protects mice against endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis

Daijiro Hori, Yohei Nomura, Mitsunori Nakano, Mingming Han, Anil Bhatta, Ke Chen, Kei Akiyoshi, Deepesh Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: We recently described a novel regulatory role for histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) in protecting endothelial cells from oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL)-induced injury. In this study, we examined the effects of endothelial-specific HDAC2 overexpression on endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation and atherogenesis in vivo. Methods: Endothelial-specific HDAC2-overexpressing transgenic mice (HDAC2-Tg) were generated under control of the Tie2 promoter. An atherosclerosis model was produced by injecting HDAC2-Tg and wild-type (WT) mice with adeno-associated virus encoding a PCSK9 gain-of-function mutant under control of a liver-specific promoter and feeding them a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Aortic stiffness in vivo was determined by measuring pulse wave velocity. Wire myography was used to measure endothelium dependent (acetylcholine) and independent (sodium nitroprusside) relaxation in isolated mice aortas. Atherosclerotic plaque burden in aortas was determined by Oil Red O staining and protein expression was determined by western blotting. Results: At baseline, HDAC2-Tg mice had normal mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and body weight, but pulse wave velocity (PWV), an inverse measure of vascular health and stiffness, was decreased, suggesting that their vessels were more compliant. Moreover, basal nitric oxide production was enhanced in the vessels of HDAC2-Tg mice as compared to that in WT controls, although no significant differences in acetylcholine (endothelial component)- or sodium nitroprusside (non-endothelial component)-mediated relaxation were observed. However, after exposure to OxLDL, aortas from HDAC2-Tg mice exhibited greater acetylcholine-induced relaxation than did those from WT mice. Thus, endothelial-specific vasodilator production was enhanced despite oxidative injury. Atherosclerosis induction in WT mice led to a significant increase in PWV, but in HDAC2-Tg mice, PWV and MAP remained unchanged. Further, aortic rings from HDAC2-Tg exhibited better endothelial-dependent vascular relaxation than did those from WT mice, but not when treated with nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NAME. Finally, plaque burden, determined by Oil red O staining, was significantly increased in WT, but not HDAC2-Tg mice, subjected to the atherogenic model. Deletion of endothelial HDAC2 led to impaired endothelial cell-dependent vascular relaxation and increased PWV, compared with those in littermate controls. Conclusion: HDAC2 protects against endothelial dysfunction and atherogenesis induced by oxidized lipids. Hence, overexpression or activation of HDAC2 represents a novel therapy for endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. HDAC2-Tg mice provide an opportunity to determine the role of endothelial HDAC2 in vascular endothelial homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-958
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Endothelial Dysfunction
  • HDAC2 (Histone deacetylase 2)
  • OxLDL (Oxidized low-density lipoprotein)
  • PCSK9 (Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9)
  • PWV (Pulse wave velocity)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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