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Endothelial dysfunction precedes pathogenesis of vascular complications in diabetes. In recent years, the mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction were investigated to outline strategies for its treatment. However, the therapies for dysfunctional endothelium resulted in multiple clinical trial failures and remain elusive. There is a need for defining hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction with both generic and specific dysfunctional changes in endothelial cells (EC) using a systems approach. In this study, we investigated hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction in HUVEC and HMVEC. We investigated hyperglycemia-induced functional changes (superoxide (O2‾), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and mitochondrial membrane polarization) and gene expression fingerprints of related enzymes (nitric oxide synthase, NAD(P)H oxidase, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) neutralizing enzymes) in both ECs.


Gene expression of NOS2, NOS3, NOX4, CYBA, UCP1, CAT, TXNRD1, TXNRD2, GPX1, NOX1, SOD1, SOD2, PRDX1, 18s, and RPLP0 were measured using real-time PCR. O2‾ production was measured with dihydroethidium (DHE) fluorescence measurement. H2O2 production was measured using Amplex Red assay. Mitochondrial membrane polarization was measured using JC-10 based fluorescence measurement.


We showed that the O2‾ levels increased similarly in both ECs with hyperglycemia. However, these endothelial cells showed significantly different underlying gene expression profile, H2O2 production and mitochondrial membrane polarization. In HUVEC, hyperglycemia increased H2O2 production, and hyperpolarized mitochondrial membrane. ROS neutralizing enzymes SOD2 and CAT gene expression were downregulated. In contrast, there was an upregulation of nitric oxide synthase and NAD(P)H oxidase and a depolarization of mitochondrial membrane in HMVEC. In addition, ROS neutralizing enzymes SOD1, GPX1, TXNRD1 and TXNRD2 gene expression were significantly upregulated in high glucose treated HMVEC.


Our findings highlighted a unique framework for hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction. We showed that multiple pathways are differentially affected in these endothelial cells in hyperglycemia. High occurrences of gene expression changes in HMVEC in this study supports the hypothesis that microvasculature precedes macrovasculature in epigenetic regulation forming vascular metabolic memory. Identifying genomic phenotype and corresponding functional changes in hyperglycemic endothelial dysfunction will provide a suitable systems biology approach for understanding underlying mechanisms and possible effective therapeutic intervention.


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Medical Genetics