Activation of NAD(P)H oxidase by Tryptophan-derived 3-Hydroxykynurenine accelerates endothelial apoptosis and dysfunction in Vivo ;

Qiongxin Wang, Miao Zhang, Ye Ding, Qilong Wang, Wencheng Zhang, Ping Song, Ming Hui Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


RATIONALE:: The kynurenine (Kyn) pathway is the major route for tryptophan (Trp) metabolism in mammals. The Trp-Kyn pathway is reported to regulate several fundamental biological processes, including cell death. OBJECTIVE:: The aim of this study was to elucidate the contributions and molecular mechanism of Trp-Kyn pathway to endothelial cell death. METHODS AND RESULTS:: Endogenous reactive oxygen species, endothelial cell apoptosis, and endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasorelaxation were measured in aortas of wild-type mice or mice deficient for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate [NAD(P)H] oxidase subunits (p47 or gp91) or indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase 1 with or without angiotensin (Ang) II infusion. As expected, AngII increased plasma levels of Kyn-and 3-hydroxykynurenine-modified proteins in endothelial cells in vivo. Consistent with this, AngII markedly increased the expression of indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase in parallel with increased expression of interferon-γ. Furthermore, in wild-type mice, AngII significantly increased oxidative stress, endothelial cell apoptosis, and endothelial dysfunction. These effects of AngII infusion were significantly suppressed in mice deficient for p47, gp91, or indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase 1, suggesting that AngII-induced enhancement of Kynurenines via NAD(P)H oxidase-derived oxidants causes endothelial cell apoptosis and dysfunction in vivo. Furthermore, interferon-γ neutralization eliminates AngII-increased superoxide products and endothelial apoptosis by inhibiting AngII-induced Kynurenines generation, suggesting that AngII-activated Kyn pathway is interferon-γ-dependent. Mechanistically, we found that AngII-enhanced 3-hydroxykynurenine promoted the generation of NAD(P)H oxidase-mediated superoxide anions by increasing the translocation and membrane assembly of NAD(P)H oxidase subunits in endothelial cells, resulting in accelerated apoptosis and consequent endothelial dysfunction. CONCLUSIONS:: Kyn pathway activation accelerates apoptosis and dysfunction of the endothelium by upregulating NAD(P)H-derived superoxide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-492
Number of pages13
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 31 2014


  • 3-hydroxykynurenine
  • apoptosis
  • indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3,-dioxygenase
  • kynurenine
  • NAD(P)H oxidase
  • oxidative stress
  • tryptophan


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