Clinical nephrology

Activation of mTOR contributes to foam cell formation in the radial arteries of patients with end-stage renal disease.

PMID 24755105


Our previous in-vivo and in-vitro studies demonstrated that inflammation accelerated the progression of atherosclerosis via the dysregulation of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) pathway. The current study aimed to investigate the effects and their underlying mechanisms of inflammation on lipid accumulation in the radial arteries of endstage renal disease (ESRD) patients with arteriovenostomy. 30 ESRD patients with arteriovenostomy were included. The patients were divided into two groups based on their plasma levels of C-reactive protein: a control (n = 16) and an inflamed group (n = 14). The expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 of the radial arteries were increased in the inflamed group. Foam cell formation and lipid droplet accumulation were examined by hematoxylin and eosin (H & E) and Oil Red O staining. Intracellular cholesterol trafficking-related proteins were examined by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescent staining. There was significant lipid accumulation in the radial arteries of the inflamed group compared with the control. Further analysis demonstrated that this accumulation was correlated with the increased protein expression of LDLr, sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 (SREBP-2), and SREBP cleavageactivating protein (SCAP). Confocal microscopy showed that inflammation enhanced the translocation of SCAP escorting SREBP-2 from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi, thereby activating LDLr gene transcription. Interestingly, upregulated LDLr expression was positively associated with the increased protein expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which had enhanced coexpression with SREBP-2. This finding suggests that the activation of mTOR may be involved in LDLr pathway disruption through the upregulation of SREBP-2 expression. Inflammation contributed to foam cell formation in the radial arteries of ESRD patients via the dysregulation of the LDLr pathway, which could be modulated by the activation of the mTOR pathway.