Soluble N-cadherin overexpression reduces features of atherosclerotic plaque instability

Cressida A Lyon, Jason L Johnson, Helen Williams, Graciela B Sala-Newby, Sarah J George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (SciVal)


OBJECTIVE: Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) apoptosis contributes to atherosclerotic plaque instability and myocardial infarction. Consequently, reducing VSMC apoptosis may be beneficial for reducing plaque instability and acute coronary events. We previously demonstrated that N-cadherin, a cell-cell adhesion molecule, reduces VSMC apoptosis in vitro. In this study, we examined whether a soluble form of N-cadherin (SNC) affected VSMC apoptosis and plaque stability.

METHODS AND RESULTS: SNC significantly inhibited VSMC apoptosis in vitro by approximately 50% via activation of fibroblast growth factor receptor, phosphoinositide-3 kinase, and Akt signaling. SNC also significantly reduced macrophage and foam cell-macrophage apoptosis in vitro by >50%, without affecting monocyte invasion or macrophage proliferation. Elevation of plasma levels of SNC in male apolipoprotein E-deficient mice with existing atherosclerosis via adenoviral delivery significantly reduced VSMC and macrophage apoptosis in brachiocephalic artery plaques by approximately 60%. Additionally, SNC promoted plaques of a more stable phenotype by elevating VSMC:macrophage ratio and presence of VSMC-rich fibrous cap, as well as attenuating macrophage number and incidence of buried fibrous caps (a surrogate plaque rupture marker).

CONCLUSIONS: In summary, this study demonstrates that SNC suppressed plaque instability by attenuation of apoptosis, suggesting that SNC may have a therapeutic potential for retarding plaque instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Adenoviridae/genetics
  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E/deficiency
  • Apoptosis
  • Atherosclerosis/genetics
  • Brachiocephalic Trunk/metabolism
  • CHO Cells
  • Cadherins/biosynthesis
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Foam Cells/metabolism
  • Genetic Therapy/methods
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Monocytes/metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular/metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments/biosynthesis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Time Factors
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Up-Regulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Soluble N-cadherin overexpression reduces features of atherosclerotic plaque instability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this