Differential responses of the Nrf2-Keap1 system to laminar and oscillatory shear stresses in endothelial cells

Tomonori Hosoya, Atsushi Maruyama, Moon Il Kang, Yukie Kawatani, Takahiro Shibata, Koji Uchida, Ken Itoh, Masayuki Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


The Nrf2-Keap1 system coordinately regulates cytoprotective gene expression via the antioxidant responsive element (ARE). The expression of several ARE-regulated genes was found to be up-regulated in endothelial cells by laminar shear stress, suggesting that Nrf2 contributes to the anti-atherosclerosis response via the ARE. To gain further insight into the roles that Nrf2 plays in the development of atherosclerosis, we examined how Nrf2 regulates gene expression in response to anti-atherogenic laminar flow (L-flow) or pro-atherogenic oscillatory flow (O-flow). Exposure of human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) to L-flow, but not to O-flow, induced the expression of cytoprotective genes, such as NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) by 5-fold and heme oxygenase-1 by 8-fold. The critical contribution of Nrf2 to the expression induced by L-flow was ascertained in siRNA-mediated knockdown experiments. Two cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) specific inhibitors attenuated Nrf2 nuclear accumulation in the acute phase of L-flow exposure. A downstream product of COX-2, 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2), activated the Nrf2 regulatory pathway in HAECs through binding to the cysteines of Keap1. These results demonstrate that 15d-PGJ 2 is essential for L-flow to activate Nrf2 and induce anti-atherosclerotic gene expression. Whereas both L-flow and O-flow induced the nuclear accumulation of Nrf2 to comparable levels, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that Nrf2 binding to the NQO1 ARE was significantly diminished in the case of O-flow compared with that of L-flow. These results suggest that O-flow inhibits Nrf2 activity at the DNA binding step, thereby suppressing atheroprotective gene expression and hence predisposing the blood vessels to the formation of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27244-27250
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul 22


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