ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

The Key Role of Liraglutide in Preventing Autophagy of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells in High Glucose Conditions
Lili Shi1, Ming Hao2, Guangjing Qu1, Yingying Xu1, Zhe Cui1, Lin Geng1, Hongyu Kuang2
1Department of Cadre Ward, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China
2Department of Endocrinology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China
DOI : 10.4274/balkanmedj.galenos.2023.2023-8-44
Pages : 54-63


Background: The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist liraglutide (LIRA) is a potential hypoglycemic drug with anti-atherosclerosis (AS) effects. Autophagy in the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) facilitates AS. However, the role of autophagy in the anti-AS mechanism of LIRA remains unclear.
Aims: To examine the role and mechanisms of autophagy in LIRA’s improvement of the biological characteristics of VSMCs in high glucose conditions.
Study Design: Experimental animal study.
Methods: VSMCs isolated from the thoracic aorta of male SD rats were subjected to a high glucose (HG) condition (25 mM) in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium with or without LIRA, the GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin9-39 (Exe9-39), a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor (LY294002), and autophagy inhibitors (3-methyladenine [3-MA] and bafilomycin A1 [Baf A1]). Acridine orange staining, western blotting, transmission electron microscopy, and mCherry-GFP-LC3 transfection were performed to evaluate the autophagy flux. Additionally, VSMC migration, calcification, proliferation, and apoptosis in HG conditions were observed.
Results: Addition of LIRA alone or in combination with autophagy inhibitors significantly downregulated Beclin, increased the LC3-II/LC3-I ratio, and upregulated p62 in VSMCs in HG conditions. Furthermore, autophagolysosome formation was markedly curbed after treatment with LIRA and/or autophagy inhibitors. Inhibition of autophagy by LIRA and/or the autophagy inhibitors attenuated VSMC phenotype conversion, proliferation, migration, and calcification and promoted VSMC apoptosis in HG conditions. This protective role of LIRA was augmented by LY294002, but inhibited by Exe9-39.
Conclusion: LIRA plays a significant role in the improvement of the biological features of VSMCs in HG conditions.

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