Palmitic acid exerts pro-inflammatory effects on vascular smooth muscle cells by inducing the expression of C-reactive protein, inducible nitric oxide synthase and tumor necrosis factor-α.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease in the vessel, and inflammatory cytokines play an important role in the inflammatory process of atherosclerosis. A high level of free fatty acids (FFAs) produced in lipid metabolism disorders are known to participate in the formation of atherosclerosis through multiple bioactivities. As the main saturated fatty acid in FFAs, palmitic acid stimulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines in macrophages. However, it is unclear whether palmitic acid exerts a pro-inflammatory effect on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). The purpose of the present study was to observe the effect of palmitic acid on the expression of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in VSMCs. Rat VSMCs were cultured, and palmitic acid was used as a stimulant for CRP, TNF-α and iNOS expression. mRNA expression was assayed with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and protein expression was detected with western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry. The results showed that palmitic acid significantly stimulated mRNA and protein expression of CRP, TNF-α and iNOS in VSMCs in time- and concentration-dependent manners, and therefore, palmitic acid is able to exert a pro-inflammatory effect on VSMCs via stimulating CRP, TNF-α and iNOS expression. The findings provide a novel explanation for the direct pro-inflammatory and atherogenic effects of palmitic acid, and for the association with metabolic syndrome, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity and atherosclerosis. Therefore, the intervention with anti-inflammatory agents may effectively delay the formation and progression of atherosclerosis in patients with metabolic syndrome.
AuthorsDi Wu, Juntian Liu, Xiaoming Pang, Shuyue Wang, Jingjing Zhao, Xiaolu Zhang, Liuxin Feng
JournalInternational journal of molecular medicine (Int J Mol Med) Vol. 34 Issue 6 Pg. 1706-12 (Dec 2014) ISSN: 1791-244X [Electronic] Greece
PMID25242580 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Palmitic Acid
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • C-Reactive Protein (genetics, metabolism)
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression (drug effects)
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular (cytology)
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle (drug effects, metabolism)
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II (genetics, metabolism)
  • Palmitic Acid (pharmacology)
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (genetics, metabolism)

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