JAGGED1/NOTCH3 activation promotes aortic hypermuscularization and stenosis in elastin deficiency

Jui M. Dave, Raja Chakraborty, Aglaia Ntokou, Junichi Saito, Fatima Z. Saddouk, Zhonghui Feng, Ashish Misra, George Tellides, Robert K. Riemer, Zsolt Urban, Caroline Kinnear, James Ellis, Seema Mital, Robert Mecham, Kathleen A. Martin, Daniel M. Greif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Obstructive arterial diseases, including supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS), atherosclerosis, and restenosis, share 2 important features: An abnormal or disrupted elastic lamellae structure and excessive smooth muscle cells (SMCs). However, the relationship between these pathological features is poorly delineated. SVAS is caused by heterozygous loss-of-function, hypomorphic, or deletion mutations in the elastin gene (ELN), and SVAS patients and elastin-mutant mice display increased arterial wall cellularity and luminal obstructions. Pharmacological treatments for SVAS are lacking, as the underlying pathobiology is inadequately defined. Herein, using human aortic vascular cells, mouse models, and aortic samples and SMCs derived from induced pluripotent stem cells of ELN-deficient patients, we demonstrated that elastin insufficiency induced epigenetic changes, upregulating the NOTCH pathway in SMCs. Specifically, reduced elastin increased levels of γ-secretase, activated NOTCH3 intracellular domain, and downstream genes. Notch3 deletion or pharmacological inhibition of γ-secretase attenuated aortic hypermuscularization and stenosis in Eln-/- mutants. Eln-/- mice expressed higher levels of NOTCH ligand JAGGED1 (JAG1) in aortic SMCs and endothelial cells (ECs). Finally, Jag1 deletion in SMCs, but not ECs, mitigated the hypermuscular and stenotic phenotype in the aorta of Eln-/- mice. Our findings reveal that NOTCH3 pathway upregulation induced pathological aortic SMC accumulation during elastin insufficiency and provide potential therapeutic targets for SVAS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere142338
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


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