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OBJECTIVEOur goal was to determine the mechanism by which mitochondrial oxidative stress impairs collateral growth in the heart.
RESULTSRats were treated with rotenone (mitochondrial complex I inhibitor that increases reactive oxygen species production) or sham-treated with vehicle and subjected to repetitive ischemia protocol for 10 days to induce coronary collateral growth. In control rats, repetitive ischemia increased flow to the collateral-dependent zone; however, rotenone treatment prevented this increase suggesting that mitochondrial oxidative stress compromises coronary collateral growth. In addition, rotenone also attenuated mitochondrial complex I activity and led to excessive mitochondrial aggregation. To further understand the mechanistic pathway(s) involved, human coronary artery endothelial cells were treated with 50 ng/mL vascular endothelial growth factor, 1 µmol/L rotenone, and rotenone/vascular endothelial growth factor for 48 hours. Vascular endothelial growth factor induced robust tube formation; however, rotenone completely inhibited this effect (P<0.05 rotenone versus vascular endothelial growth factor treatment). Inhibition of tube formation by rotenone was also associated with significant increase in mitochondrial superoxide generation. Immunoblot analyses of human coronary artery endothelial cells with rotenone treatment showed significant activation of adenosine monophosphate activated kinase (AMPK)-α and inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase. Activation of AMPK-α suggested impairments in energy production, which was reflected by decrease in O2 consumption and bioenergetic reserve capacity of cultured cells. Knockdown of AMPK-α (siRNA) also preserved tube formation during rotenone, suggesting the negative effects were mediated by the activation of AMPK-α. Conversely, expression of a constitutively active AMPK-α blocked tube formation.
CONCLUSIONSWe conclude that activation of AMPK-α during mitochondrial oxidative stress inhibits mammalian target of rapamycin signaling, which impairs phenotypic switching necessary for the growth of blood vessels.