Vasostatin-1, a chromogranin A (CgA)-derived peptide (76 amino acids), is known to suppress vasoconstriction and angiogenesis. A recent study has shown that vasostatin-1 suppresses the adhesion of human U937 monocytes to human endothelial cells (HECs) via adhesion molecule down-regulation. The present study evaluated the expression of vasostatin-1 in human atherosclerotic lesions and its effects on inflammatory responses in HECs and human THP-1 monocyte-derived macrophages, macrophage foam cell formation, migration and proliferation of human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) and extracellular matrix (ECM) production by HASMCs, and atherogenesis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice. Vasostatin-1 was expressed around Monckeberg’s medial calcific sclerosis in human radial arteries. Vasostatin-1 suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced up-regulation of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin in HECs. Vasostatin-1 suppressed inflammatory M1 phenotype and LPS-induced interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion via nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) down-regulation in macrophages. Vasostatin-1 suppressed oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)-induced foam cell formation associated with acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase-1 (ACAT-1) and CD36 down-regulation and ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) up-regulation in macrophages. In HASMCs, vasostatin-1 suppressed angiotensin II (AngII)-induced migration and collagen-3 and fibronectin expression via decreasing ERK1/2 and p38 phosphorylation, but increased elastin expression and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 activities via increasing Akt and JNK phosphorylation. Vasostatin-1 did not affect the proliferation and apoptosis in HASMCs. Four-week infusion of vasostatin-1 suppressed the development of aortic atherosclerotic lesions with reductions in intra-plaque inflammation, macrophage infiltration, and SMC content, and plasma glucose level in ApoE−/− mice. These results indicate the inhibitory effects of vasostatin-1 against atherogenesis. The present study provided the first evidence that vasostatin-1 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.

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