Aims Atherosclerotic plaque development can conclude with a thrombotic acute event triggered by plaque rupture/erosion. Tumour necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a member of the tumour necrosis factor superfamily that, through its receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14), participates in vascular remodelling, increasing vascular inflammatory responses and atherosclerotic lesion size in ApoE knockout mice. However, the role of the TWEAKFn14 axis in thrombosis has not been previously investigated.Methods and results We have examined whether TWEAK regulates expression of prothrombotic factors such as tissue factor (TF) and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) in atherosclerotic plaques as well as in human aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (hASMCs) in culture. Expression of TF and PAI-1 was colocalized and positively correlated with Fn14 in human carotid atherosclerotic plaques. In vitro, TWEAK increased TF and PAI-1 mRNA, protein expression and activity in hASMCs. All these effects were reversed using blocking anti-TWEAK monoclonal antibody, anti-Fn14 antibody or Fn14 small interfering RNA, indicating that TWEAK increased the prothrombotic state through its receptor, Fn14. Finally, ApoE-/- mice were fed a hyperlipidaemic diet for 10 weeks, then randomized and treated with saline (controls), TWEAK (10 g/kg/day), anti-TWEAK neutralizing monoclonal antibody (1000 g/kg/day), or non-specific immunoglobulin G (1000 g/kg/day) daily for 9 days. Systemic TWEAK injection increased TF and PAI-1 protein expression in the aortic root of ApoE-/- mice. Conversely, TWEAK blocking antibodies diminished both TF and PAI-1 protein expression compared with non-specific immunoglobulin G-treated mice. Conclusion sOur results indicate that the TWEAKFn14 axis can regulate activation of TF and PAI-1 expression in vascular cells. TWEAKFn14 may be a therapeutic target in the prothrombotic complications associated with atherosclerosis.
- Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1
- Tissue factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)