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J. Cell Biol. 169 (1): 191-202

Copyright © 2005 by the Rockefeller University Press.


The subendothelial extracellular matrix modulates NF-{kappa}B activation by flow

a potential role in atherosclerosis

A. Wayne Orr3, John M. Sanders3, Melissa Bevard3, Elizabeth Coleman3, Ian J. Sarembock3,4, , and Martin Alexander Schwartz1,2,3,5

1 Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908
2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908
3 Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908
4 Internal Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908
5 Mellon Prostate Cancer Research Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908

Correspondence to M.A. Schwartz: maschwartz{at}

Abstract: Atherosclerotic plaque forms in regions of the vasculature exposed to disturbed flow. NF-{kappa}B activation by fluid flow, leading to expression of target genes such as E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1, may regulate early monocyte recruitment and fatty streak formation. Flow-induced NF-{kappa}B activation is downstream of conformational activation of integrins, resulting in new integrin binding to the subendothelial extracellular matrix and signaling. Therefore, we examined the involvement of the extracellular matrix in this process. Whereas endothelial cells plated on fibronectin or fibrinogen activate NF-{kappa}B in response to flow, cells on collagen or laminin do not. In vivo, fibronectin and fibrinogen are deposited at atherosclerosis-prone sites before other signs of atherosclerosis. Ligation of integrin {alpha}2ß1 on collagen prevents flow-induced NF-{kappa}B activation through a p38-dependent pathway that is activated locally at adhesion sites. Furthermore, altering the extracellular matrix to promote p38 activation in cells on fibronectin suppresses NF-{kappa}B activation, suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy for treating atherosclerosis.

Abbreviations used in this paper: ApoE, apolipoprotein E; BAE, bovine aortic endothelial; Coll, collagen; FG, fibrinogen; FN, fibronectin; IHC, immunohistochemistry; IKK, I{kappa}B kinase; LN, laminin.

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