Objectives In systemic sclerosis (SSc), angiogenesis impairment advances in parallel with the development of fibrosis orchestrated by myofibroblasts originating from different sources, including endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT). Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulation has shown antifibrotic effects in SSc skin fibroblasts and mouse models. Here, we investigated the effects of pharmacological sGC stimulation on impaired angiogenesis and myofibroblast-like features of SSc dermal microvascular endothelial cells (SSc-MVECs). Methods To determine whether sGC stimulation affected cell viability/proliferation, SSc-MVECs and healthy dermal MVECs (H-MVECs) were challenged with the sGC stimulator (sGCS) MK-2947 and assayed by annexin V/PI flow cytometry and WST-1. To study angiogenesis and EndoMT, MK-2947-treated SSc-MVECs were subjected to wound healing and capillary morphogenesis assays and analysed for the expression of endothelial/myofibroblast markers and contractile ability. Results MK-2947 treatment did not affect H-MVEC viability/proliferation, while it significantly increased SSc-MVEC proliferation, wound healing capability and angiogenic performance. After MK-2947 treatment, SSc-MVECs exhibited significantly increased proangiogenic MMP9 and decreased antiangiogenic MMP12 and PTX3 gene expression. A significant increase in the expression of CD31 and vascular endothelial cadherin paralleled by a decrease in α-smooth muscle actin, S100A4, type I collagen and Snail1 mesenchymal markers was also found in MK-2947-treated SSc-MVECs. Furthermore, stimulation of sGC with MK-2947 significantly counteracted the intrinsic ability of SSc-MVECs to contract collagen gels and reduced phosphorylated-ERK1/2 protein levels. Conclusion These findings demonstrate for the first time that pharmacological sGC stimulation effectively ameliorates the angiogenic performance and blunts the myofibroblast-like profibrotic phenotype of SSc-MVECs, thus providing new evidence for repurposing sGCSs for SSc.

Soluble guanylate cyclase stimulation fosters angiogenesis and blunts myofibroblast-like features of systemic sclerosis endothelial cells / Romano, Eloisa; Rosa, Irene; Fioretto, Bianca Saveria; Giuggioli, Dilia; Manetti, Mirko; Matucci-Cerinic, Marco. - In: RHEUMATOLOGY. - ISSN 1462-0324. - STAMPA. - 62:(2023), pp. SI125-SI137. [10.1093/rheumatology/keac433]

Soluble guanylate cyclase stimulation fosters angiogenesis and blunts myofibroblast-like features of systemic sclerosis endothelial cells

Romano, Eloisa;Rosa, Irene;Fioretto, Bianca Saveria;Manetti, Mirko
;
Matucci-Cerinic, Marco
2023

Abstract

Objectives In systemic sclerosis (SSc), angiogenesis impairment advances in parallel with the development of fibrosis orchestrated by myofibroblasts originating from different sources, including endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT). Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulation has shown antifibrotic effects in SSc skin fibroblasts and mouse models. Here, we investigated the effects of pharmacological sGC stimulation on impaired angiogenesis and myofibroblast-like features of SSc dermal microvascular endothelial cells (SSc-MVECs). Methods To determine whether sGC stimulation affected cell viability/proliferation, SSc-MVECs and healthy dermal MVECs (H-MVECs) were challenged with the sGC stimulator (sGCS) MK-2947 and assayed by annexin V/PI flow cytometry and WST-1. To study angiogenesis and EndoMT, MK-2947-treated SSc-MVECs were subjected to wound healing and capillary morphogenesis assays and analysed for the expression of endothelial/myofibroblast markers and contractile ability. Results MK-2947 treatment did not affect H-MVEC viability/proliferation, while it significantly increased SSc-MVEC proliferation, wound healing capability and angiogenic performance. After MK-2947 treatment, SSc-MVECs exhibited significantly increased proangiogenic MMP9 and decreased antiangiogenic MMP12 and PTX3 gene expression. A significant increase in the expression of CD31 and vascular endothelial cadherin paralleled by a decrease in α-smooth muscle actin, S100A4, type I collagen and Snail1 mesenchymal markers was also found in MK-2947-treated SSc-MVECs. Furthermore, stimulation of sGC with MK-2947 significantly counteracted the intrinsic ability of SSc-MVECs to contract collagen gels and reduced phosphorylated-ERK1/2 protein levels. Conclusion These findings demonstrate for the first time that pharmacological sGC stimulation effectively ameliorates the angiogenic performance and blunts the myofibroblast-like profibrotic phenotype of SSc-MVECs, thus providing new evidence for repurposing sGCSs for SSc.
2023
62
SI125
SI137
Romano, Eloisa; Rosa, Irene; Fioretto, Bianca Saveria; Giuggioli, Dilia; Manetti, Mirko; Matucci-Cerinic, Marco
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Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1277902
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