2015 Volume 235 Issue 1 Pages 1-15
Vascular homeostasis is regulated by complex interactions between many vascular cell components, including endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), adventitial inflammatory cells, and autonomic nervous system. The balance between oxidant and antioxidant systems determines intracellular redox status, and their imbalance can cause oxidative stress. Excessive oxidative stress is one of the important stimuli that induce cellular damage and dysregulation of vascular cell components, leading to vascular diseases through multiple pathways. Cyclophilin A (CyPA) is one of the causative proteins that mediate oxidative stress-induced cardiovascular dysfunction. CyPA was initially discovered as the intracellular receptor of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine 30 years ago. However, recent studies have established that CyPA is secreted from vascular cell components, such as endothelial cells and VSMCs. Extracellular CyPA augments the development of cardiovascular diseases. CyPA secretion is regulated by Rho-kinase, which contributes to the pathogenesis of vasospasm, arteriosclerosis, ischemia/reperfusion injury, hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, and heart failure. We recently reported that plasma CyPA levels are significantly higher in patients with coronary artery disease, which is associated with increased numbers of stenotic coronary arteries and the need for coronary intervention in such patients. Furthermore, we showed that the vascular erythropoietin (Epo)/Epo receptor system plays an important role in production of nitric oxide and maintenance of vascular redox state and homeostasis, with a potential mechanistic link to the Rho-kinase-CyPA pathway. In this article, I review the data on the protective role of the vascular Epo/Epo receptor system and discuss the roles of the CyPA/Rho-kinase system in cardiovascular diseases.