Endothelial ADAM10 controls cellular response to oxLDL and its deficiency exacerbates atherosclerosis with intraplaque hemorrhage and neovascularization in mice

Emiel P. C. van der Vorst, Sanne L. Maas, Kosta Theodorou, Linsey J. F. Peters, Han Jin, Timo Rademakers, Marion J. Gijbels, Mat Rousch, Yvonne Jansen, Christian Weber, Michael Lehrke, Corinna Lebherz, Daniela Yildiz, Andreas Ludwig, Jacob F. Bentzon, Erik A. L. Biessen, Marjo M. P. C. Donners

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Introduction: The transmembrane protease A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) displays a “pattern regulatory function,” by cleaving a range of membrane-bound proteins. In endothelium, it regulates barrier function, leukocyte recruitment and angiogenesis. Previously, we showed that ADAM10 is expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques and associated with neovascularization. In this study, we aimed to determine the causal relevance of endothelial ADAM10 in murine atherosclerosis development in vivo. Methods and results: Endothelial Adam10 deficiency (Adam10ecko) in Western-type diet (WTD) fed mice rendered atherogenic by adeno-associated virus-mediated PCSK9 overexpression showed markedly increased atherosclerotic lesion formation. Additionally, Adam10 deficiency was associated with an increased necrotic core and concomitant reduction in plaque macrophage content. Strikingly, while intraplaque hemorrhage and neovascularization are rarely observed in aortic roots of atherosclerotic mice after 12 weeks of WTD feeding, a majority of plaques in both brachiocephalic artery and aortic root of Adam10ecko mice contained these features, suggestive of major plaque destabilization. In vitro, ADAM10 knockdown in human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) blunted the shedding of lectin-like oxidized LDL (oxLDL) receptor-1 (LOX-1) and increased endothelial inflammatory responses to oxLDL as witnessed by upregulated ICAM-1, VCAM-1, CCL5, and CXCL1 expression (which was diminished when LOX-1 was silenced) as well as activation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways. LOX-1 shedding appeared also reduced in vivo, as soluble LOX-1 levels in plasma of Adam10ecko mice was significantly reduced compared to wildtypes. Discussion: Collectively, these results demonstrate that endothelial ADAM10 is atheroprotective, most likely by limiting oxLDL-induced inflammation besides its known role in pathological neovascularization. Our findings create novel opportunities to develop therapeutics targeting atherosclerotic plaque progression and stability, but at the same time warrant caution when considering to use ADAM10 inhibitors for therapy in other diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number974918
JournalFrontiers in cardiovascular medicine
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • LOX-1
  • a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10
  • atherosclerosis
  • endothelial cells
  • inflammatory signaling
  • intraplaque hemorrhage
  • neovascularization

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