7,8-Dihydroneopterin-mediated protection of low density lipoprotein, but not human macrophages, from oxidative stress

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Theses / Dissertations
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Doctor of Philosophy
University of Canterbury. Biological Sciences
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Firth, Carole Anne

Any lipoproteins and cells present in the inflammatory environment of atherosclerotic plaques are likely to be exposed to high levels of oxidative stress. As 7,8-dihydroneopterin (7,8-NP) is synthesized by interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-activated macrophages, this pteridine is also thought to exist at sites of inflammation. 7,8-NP s in vivo role remains controversial, but numerous in vitro studies have identified a radical scavenging activity. The possibility of 7,8-NP protecting against oxidative damage in inflammatory environments like plaque was investigated in this thesis. Both human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDMs) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) were used as substrates. The extent of protein hydroperoxide formation in each model, and 7,8-NP s effect on this process, were specifically studied since most previous research has focussed on lipid rather than protein peroxidation. For the first time, neopterin (including oxidized 7,8-NP) was also directly detected by high performance liquid chromatography in the inflammatory environments of 19 pus and two atherosclerotic plaque samples. Peak concentrations even reached the low micromolar range. The positive correlation identified in the pus between neopterin and a well known antioxidant, vitamin E, further hinted at a potential antioxidant function. However, no significant association was noted between neopterin and markers of protein or lipid oxidation. Exposure of HMDMs to the AAPH peroxyl radical generator resulted in significant quantities of lipid hydroperoxides but not protein hydroperoxides, as detected by the FOX assays. This is likely due to the large accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acidrich lipid in the primary HMDMs during differentiation in 10% human serum and is of relevance to atherosclerotic plaque, where macrophages also become lipid-loaded. The addition of up to 200μM 7,8-NP failed to prevent AAPH-induced lipid peroxidation and was also unable to inhibit a loss of cellular thiols or viability. This lack of effect suggests the damaging peroxyl radicals are not being scavenged by 7,8-NP. The high lipid content of HMDM cells appears to cause the AAPH and/or 7,8-NP to localize to a cellular site, where they are unable to interact. Macrophage-mediated oxidation of LDL in iron(II)-supplemented Hams F10 was associated with the formation of 30-40 moles of protein hydroperoxides per mole of LDL. The close parallel between protein and lipid peroxidation supports the theory that lipid-derived radicals are involved in protein hydroperoxide formation on LDL and indicates that protein hydroperoxides are an early product of LDL oxidation. Their detection during exposure of LDL to both the THP-1 macrophage cell line and primary HMDM cells confirms that protein hydroperoxides are also a normal consequence of macrophage-mediated LDL oxidation. Incubation of LDL with micromolar 7,8-NP prevented macrophage-mediated protein hydroperoxide formation in a concentration-dependent manner. Lipid oxidation and vitamin E loss were similarly inhibited by 7,8-NP during the cell-mediated attack of LDL. Kinetic analysis revealed protection due to extension of the lag phase, with 7,8-NP depletion and initiation of the propagation phase coinciding. This supports a radical scavenging activity for 7,8-NP, resulting in protection of the entire LDL particle. By contrast, the release of nanomolar quantities of 7,8-NP by IFN-γ-stimulated THP-1 macrophages failed to prevent LDL oxidation. HMDMs activated by IFN-γ did significantly inhibit LDL oxidation, including protein hydroperoxide formation, for up to 48 hours but this antioxidant effect was not due to the de novo synthesis of 7,8-NP. These results indicate that both the prevalence of protein hydroperoxides, and the ability of 7,8-NP to act as an antioxidant, depend on the system under investigation. Neopterin exists in inflammatory environments but, considering the lack of protection against AAPH-mediated HMDM oxidation and the 7,8-NP concentration required to inhibit macrophage-mediated LDL oxidation, strong evidence for an antioxidant activity of 7,8-NP in atherosclerotic plaque is currently lacking.

atherosclerosis, 7, 8-dihydroneopterin, low density lipoprotein, macrophage, oxidation
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Copyright Carole Anne Firth