Estradiol improves cardiovascular function through up-regulation of SOD2 on vascular wall.
1Internal Medicine of Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, PR China.
2Department of Neurology, Wuhan No. 1 Hospital, #215 Zhongshan Road, Wuhan 430022, PR China.
3Department of Hematology, Peking University ShenZhen Hospital, ShenZhen 518036, PR China.
4School of Life Sciences, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, PR China.
5Internal Medicine of Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, PR China.
6Internal Medicine of Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, PR China.
Epidemiological studies have shown that estrogens have protective effects in cardiovascular diseases, even though the results from human clinical trials remain controversial, while most of the animal experiments confirmed this effect, but the detailed mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we found that estradiol (E2) treatment significantly increases the expression of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2) in mice and in vitro in human aorta endothelial cells. Further investigation shows that E2 up-regulates SOD2 through tethering of estrogen receptor (ER) to Sp1 and the increased binding of Sp1 to GC-box on the SOD2 promoter, where ERα responses E2-mediated gene activation, and ERβ maintains basal gene expression level. The E2/ER-mediated SOD2 up-regulation results in minimized ROS generation, which highly favors healthy cardiovascular function. Gene therapy through lentivirus-carried endothelium-specific delivery to the vascular wall in high-fat diet (HFT) mice shows that the SOD2 expression in endothelial cells normalizes E2 deficiency-induced ROS generation with ameliorated mitochondrial dysfunction and vascular damage, while SOD2 knockdown worsens the problem despite the presence of E2, indicating that E2-induced SOD2 expression plays an important vasculoprotective role. To our knowledge, this is the first report for the mechanism by which E2 improves cardiovascular function through up-regulation of SOD2 in endothelial cells. In turn, this suggests a novel gene therapy through lentivirus-carried gene delivery to vascular wall for E2 deficiency-induced cardiovascular damage in postmenopausal women.