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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • endothelial cell;
  • glucose;
  • metabolism;
  • NAD+;
  • senescence

Summary

Endothelial dysfunction is a characteristic of aging-related vascular disease and is worsened during diabetes. High glucose can impair endothelial cell (EC) function through cellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species, an insult that can also limit replicative lifespan. Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt), also known as PBEF and visfatin, is rate-limiting for NAD+ salvage from nicotinamide and confers resistance to oxidative stress via SIRT1. We therefore sought to determine if Nampt expression could resist the detrimental effects of high glucose and confer a survival advantage to human vascular EC in this pathologic environment. Human aortic EC were infected with retrovirus encoding eGFP or eGFP-Nampt, and FACS-selected to yield populations with similar, modest transgene expression. Using a chronic glucose exposure model we tracked EC populations to senescence, assessed cellular metabolism, and determined in vitro angiogenic function. Overexpression of Nampt increased proliferation and extended replicative lifespan, and did so preferentially during glucose overload. Nampt expression delayed markers of senescence and limited reactive oxygen species accumulation in high glucose through a modest increase in aerobic glycolysis. Furthermore, tube networks formed by Nampt-overexpressing EC were more extensive and glucose-resistant, in accordance with SIRT1-mediated repression of the anti-angiogenic transcription factor, FoxO1. We conclude that Nampt enables proliferating human EC to resist the oxidative stress of aging and of high glucose, and to productively use excess glucose to support replicative longevity and angiogenic activity. Enhancing endothelial Nampt activity may thus be beneficial in scenarios requiring EC-based vascular repair and regeneration during aging and hyperglycemia, such as atherosclerosis and diabetes-related vascular disease.