Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: FOXO3a in vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis
Author: Fellows, Adam Lee
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 7026
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Jan 2400
Access from Institution:
FOXO3a is a pro-apoptotic transcription factor which shows increased activation in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) of advanced atherosclerotic plaques, specifically within the intimal layer. Since VSMC apoptosis plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, we investigated the mechanisms underlying FOXO3a-mediated cell death in this particular cell type. We aimed to characterise a novel VSMC system (FOXO3aA3ERTM) and use these cells to validate MMP-13 and TIMP3 as new FOXO3a target genes. Also, we sought to determine the mechanisms of FOXO3aA3ERTM-mediated VSMC apoptosis, particularly regarding MMP-13 and TIMP3, potential MMP-13 substrates in the extracellular matrix and the precise apoptotic signalling involved. Furthermore, we aimed to investigate whether VSMC-specific activation of FOXO3aA3ERTM in mouse affects vascular remodelling during injury and whether this is reliant on MMP-13. Lastly, we aimed to address if endogenous FOXO3a upregulates MMP-13 in mouse and human VSMCs. Our laboratory has created a transgenic rat VSMC line which stably expresses an inducible FOXO3a mutant allele known as FOXO3aA3ERTM and previous microarray experiments identified matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) as a potential novel FOXO3a target gene. Initially, we described several key features of the FOXO3aA3ERTM VSMCs used throughout this thesis, and subsequently demonstrated that MMP-13 is a bona fide target whose expression is rapidly upregulated upon FOXO3a activation, leading to markedly higher levels of protein, cleavage and proteolytic capacity. This induction of MMP-13 was responsible for the vast majority of FOXO3a-mediated apoptosis which was accompanied by prominent degradation of fibronectin, a glycoprotein found in the extracellular matrix. However, we could not identify a terminal apoptotic pathway. FOXO3a also downregulated the endogenous MMP inhibitor TIMP3, the recombinant protein of which reduced both MMP-13 proteolysis and FOXO3a-mediated apoptosis. Activation of FOXO3aA3ERTM in the VSMCs of medium and large arteries in mice resulted in heightened expression of MMP-13 in the vessel wall, which contributed to enhanced neointimal formation during carotid ligation. Finally, endogenous FOXO3a activation leads to increased MMP-13 expression in human VSMCs, but not mouse. Overall, we have shown that FOXO3a promotes VSMC apoptosis through MMP-13 both in vitro and in vivo, a novel pathway that has important implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of vascular disease.
Supervisor: Bennett, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Atherosclerosis ; Apoptosis ; Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells ; FOXO3a