Sphingomyelin Synthase 2 Promotes Endothelial Dysfunction by Inducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical Science, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330006, Jiangxi, China. [Email]


Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is an important contributor to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Our previous study demonstrated that sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SMS2) promotes ED. Moreover, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress can lead to ED. However, whether there is a correlation between SMS2 and ER stress is unclear. To examine their correlation and determine the detailed mechanism of this process, we constructed a human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) model with SMS2 overexpression. These cells were treated with 4-PBA or simvastatin and with LiCl and salinomycin alone. The results showed that SMS2 can promote the phosphorylation of lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) and activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and that activation or inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway can induce or block ER stress, respectively. However, inhibition of ER stress by 4-PBA can decrease ER stress and ED. Furthermore, when the biosynthesis of cholesterol is inhibited by simvastatin, the reduction in intracellular cholesterol coincides with a decrease in ER stress and ED. Collectively, our results demonstrate that SMS2 can activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and promote intracellular cholesterol accumulation, both of which can contribute to the induction of ER stress and finally lead to ED.


atherosclerosis,endoplasmic reticulum stress,endothelial dysfunction,sphingomyelin synthase 2,β-catenin,