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HDAC1 and 2 regulate endothelial VCAM-1 expression and atherogenesis by suppressing methylation of the GATA6 promoter.


Increased expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 on the activated arterial endothelial cell (EC) surface critically contributes to atherosclerosis which may in part be regulated by epigenetic mechanisms. This study investigated whether and how the clinically available histone deacetylases 1 and 2 (HDAC1/2) inhibitor drug Romidepsin epigenetically modulates VCAM-1 expression to suppress atherosclerosis. Methods: VCAM-1 expression was analyzed in primary human aortic EC (HAEC) treated with Romidepsin or transfected with HDAC1/2-targeting siRNA. Methylation of GATA6 promoter region was examined with methylation-specific PCR assay. Enrichment of STAT3 to GATA6 promoter was detected with chromatin immunoprecipitation. Lys685Arg mutation was constructed to block STAT3 acetylation. The potential therapeutic effect of Romidepsin on atherosclerosis was evaluated in Apoe -/- mice fed with a high-fat diet. Results: Romidepsin significantly attenuated TNFα-induced VCAM-1 expression on HAEC surface and monocyte adhesion through simultaneous inhibition of HDAC1/2. This downregulation of VCAM-1 was attributable to reduced expression of transcription factor GATA6. Romidepsin enhanced STAT3 acetylation and its binding to DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), leading to hypermethylation of the GATA6 promoter CpG-rich region at +140/+255. Blocking STAT3 acetylation at Lys685 disrupted DNMT1-STAT3 interaction, decreased GATA6 promoter methylation, and reversed the suppressive effects of HDAC1/2 inhibition on GATA6 and VCAM-1 expression. Finally, intraperitoneal administration of Romidepsin reduced diet-induced atherosclerotic lesion development in Apoe -/- mice, accompanied by a reduction in GATA6/VCAM-1 expression in the aorta. Conclusions: HDAC1/2 contributes to VCAM-1 expression and atherosclerosis by suppressing STAT3 acetylation-dependent GATA6 promoter methylation. These findings may provide a rationale for HDAC1/2-targeting therapy in atherosclerotic heart disease.

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