Autophagy as a lysosomal degradation pathway plays an essential role in cell survival, differentiation, development and homeostasis. This cellular degradation pathway has been reported to be implicated in the development of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and restenosis through its deleterious actions during inappropriate activation. However, little is known how the pro-survival function of autophagy contributes to vascular regulation under physiological condition and what occurs if there is defect or deficiency of autophagy in vascular cells. The present proposal will test a central hypothesis that a CD38-ADP-ribosyslcyclase signaling pathway controls the autophagic process in coronary arterial smooth muscle cells (CASMCs) via its lysosomal regulation and thereby protects these cells from atherosclerotic injury preventing atherosclerosis. Defect of this lysosome regulation in autophagy may induce or accelerate coronary atherosclerosis during hyperlipidemia or hypercholesteremia. To test this hypothesis, three Specific Aims are proposed.
Specific Aim 1 will determine whether regulated lysosomes via CD38-ADP-ribosylcyclase signaling pathway contribute to autophagy upon proatherosclerotic stimuli and to explore related molecular mechanisms using CASMCs from CD38-/- and CD38+/+ mice.
Specific Aim 2 attempts to test whether the abnormality of lysosome regulation results in impaired autophagy of CASMCs and atherosclerosis in vivo in CD38-/- mice with or without rescuing CD38-APD-ribosylcyclase gene and in CD38+/+ mice with locally silenced CD38-APD-ribosylcyclase gene.
In Specific Aim 3, we will examine how the deficiency of autophagy associated with deranged lysosomes induces dysfunction of CASMCs and atherosclerosis and then define the mechanisms mediating the actions of accumulated autophagosomes in cells and coronary arterial wall. To our knowledge, these proposed studies will provide the first experimental evidence that the deficiency of autophagy in CASMCs due to dysregulation of lysosome function via CD38-ADP-ribosyslcyclase signaling pathway is an important molecular mechanism leading to coronary atherosclerosis. The findings may suggest new therapeutic strategy for treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis by improvement of lysosomal function or regulation in coronary arteries.

Public Health Relevance

Autophagy is a cell function, meaning 'to eat oneself', which is responsible for the degradation and recycle of used and damaged proteins and other components within cells, ensuring cell survival. This grant proposal seeks to examine how this cell self- protective function is fine controlled in arteries of the heart and to investigate whether and how the loss of such fine control of autophagy causes arterial diseases such as coronary heart disease. We will demonstrate that a membrane signaling protein, CD38 plays a central role in the control of autophagy and its defect may result in coronary arterial disease and consequent heart attack. Our findings will for the first time link the deficient autophagy in heart vessels to heart disease and may help develop new therapy in the future for more effective treatment of coronary arterial disease and prevention of heart attack.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (VCMB)
Program Officer
Olive, Michelle
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Virginia Commonwealth University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Yuan, Xinxu; Bhat, Owais M; Meng, Nan et al. (2018) Protective Role of Autophagy in Nlrp3 Inflammasome Activation and Medial Thickening of Mouse Coronary Arteries. Am J Pathol 188:2948-2959
Chen, Yu; He, Xingxiang; Yuan, Xinxu et al. (2018) NLRP3 Inflammasome Formation and Activation in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis: Therapeutic Target for Antimetabolic Syndrome Remedy FTZ. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018:2901871
Yuan, Xinxu; Wang, Lei; Bhat, Owais M et al. (2018) Differential effects of short chain fatty acids on endothelial Nlrp3 inflammasome activation and neointima formation: Antioxidant action of butyrate. Redox Biol 16:21-31
Bhat, Owais M; Yuan, Xinxu; Li, Guangbi et al. (2018) Sphingolipids and Redox Signaling in Renal Regulation and Chronic Kidney Diseases. Antioxid Redox Signal :
Li, Pin-Lan; Gulbins, Erich (2018) Bioactive Lipids and Redox Signaling: Molecular Mechanism and Disease Pathogenesis. Antioxid Redox Signal :
Li, Guangbi; Chen, Zhida; Bhat, Owais M et al. (2017) NLRP3 inflammasome as a novel target for docosahexaenoic acid metabolites to abrogate glomerular injury. J Lipid Res 58:1080-1090
Conley, Sabena M; Abais-Battad, Justine M; Yuan, Xinxu et al. (2017) Contribution of guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav2 to NLRP3 inflammasome activation in mouse podocytes during hyperhomocysteinemia. Free Radic Biol Med 106:236-244
Koka, Saisudha; Xia, Min; Chen, Yang et al. (2017) Endothelial NLRP3 inflammasome activation and arterial neointima formation associated with acid sphingomyelinase during hypercholesterolemia. Redox Biol 13:336-344
Xu, Xiaoyang; Zhang, Aolin; Halquist, Matthew S et al. (2017) Simvastatin promotes NPC1-mediated free cholesterol efflux from lysosomes through CYP7A1/LXR? signalling pathway in oxLDL-loaded macrophages. J Cell Mol Med 21:364-374
Conley, Sabena M; Abais, Justine M; Boini, Krishna M et al. (2017) Inflammasome Activation in Chronic Glomerular Diseases. Curr Drug Targets 18:1019-1029

Showing the most recent 10 out of 88 publications