Atherosclerosis is a major cause of mortality worldwide and is driven by multiple risk factors, including diabetes, which results in an increased atherosclerotic burden, but the precise mechanisms for the occurrence and development of diabetic atherosclerosis have not been fully elucidated.
To summarize the potential role of retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) in the pathogenesis of diabetic atherosclerosis, particularly in relation to the RBP4-Janus kinase 2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (JAK2/STAT3) signaling pathway.
Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups, including a control group (NC group), diabetic rat group (DM group), and diabetic atherosclerotic rat group (DA group). The contents of total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), fasting insulin (FINS), fasting plasma glucose, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) were measured. Moreover, the adipose and serum levels of RBP4, along with the expression levels of JAK2, phosphorylated JAK2 (p-JAK2), STAT3, phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3), B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), and Cyclin D1 in aortic tissues were also measured. Besides, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and atherogenic indexes (AI) were calculated.
Compared with the NC and DM groups, the levels LDL-c, TG, TC, FINS, HOMA-IR, RBP4, and AI were upregulated, whereas that of HDL-c was downregulated in the DA group (P < 0.05); the mRNA levels of JAK2, STAT3, Cyclin D1, and Bcl-2 in the DA group were significantly increased compared with the NC group and the DM group; P-JAK2, p-JAK2/JAK2 ratio, p-STAT3, p-STAT3/STAT3 ratio, Cyclin D1, and Bcl-2 at protein levels were significantly upregulated in the DA group compared with the NC group and DM group. In addition, as shown by Pearson analysis, serum RBP4 had a positive correlation with TG, TC, LDL-c, FINS, HbA1C, p-JAK2, p-STAT3, Bcl-2, Cyclin D1, AI, and HOMA-IR but a negative correlation with HDL-c. In addition, multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that serum RBP4, p-JAK2, p-STAT3, and LDL-c were predictors of the presence of diabetic atherosclerosis.
RBP4 could be involved in the initiation or progression of diabetic atherosclerosis by regulating the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway.
Core Tip: Atherosclerosis is a major cause of mortality worldwide and is driven by multiple risk factors including diabetes, which entails increased atherosclerotic burden, but the precise mechanisms for the occurrence and development of diabetic atherosclerosis are yet to be fully made clear. Retinol binding protein 4 is clinically associated with obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This study aimed to explore the expression regulation and mechanism of retinol binding protein 4 that is involved in diabetic macrovascular disease in order to find therapeutic targets for diabetic macrovascular disease.