Macrophage survival is believed to be a contributing factor in the development of early atherosclerotic lesions. Dysregulated apoptosis of macrophages is involved in the inflammatory process of atherogenesis. Apigenin is a flavonoid that possesses various clinically relevant properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, and antitumor activities. Here we showed that apigenin attenuated atherogenesis in apo E-/-mice in an in vivo test. In vitro experiments suggested that apigenin induced apoptosis of oxidized low density lipoprotein-(OxLDL-) loaded murine peritoneal macrophages (MPMs). Proteomic analysis showed that apigenin reduced the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2). PAI-2 has antiapoptotic effects in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Enhancing PAI-2 expression significantly reduced the proapoptosis effects of apigenin. Molecular docking assay with AutoDock software predicted that residue Ser473 of Akt1 is a potential binding site for apigenin. Lentiviral-mediated overexpression of Akt1 wild type weakened the proapoptosis effect of apigenin in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Collectively, apigenin executes its anti-atherogenic effects through inducing OxLDL-loaded MPMs apoptosis. The proapoptotic effects of apigenin were at least partly attributed to downregulation of PAI-2 through suppressing phosphorylation of AKT at Ser473.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Cell Biology