Objective: Hmox1 (heme oxygenase-1) is a stress-induced enzyme that catalyzes the degradation of heme to carbon monoxide, iron, and biliverdin. Induction of Hmox1 and its products protect against cardiovascular disease, including ischemic injury. Hmox1 is also a downstream target of the transcription factor HIF-1α (hypoxia-inducible factor-1α), a key regulator of the body's response to hypoxia. However, the mechanisms by which Hmox1 confers protection against ischemia-mediated injury remain to be fully understood.
Approach and Results: Hmox1 deficient (Hmox1-/-) mice had impaired blood flow recovery with severe tissue necrosis and autoamputation following unilateral hindlimb ischemia. Autoamputation preceded the return of blood flow, and bone marrow transfer from littermate wild-type mice failed to prevent tissue injury and autoamputation. In wild-type mice, ischemia-induced expression of Hmox1 in skeletal muscle occurred before stabilization of HIF-1α. Moreover, HIF-1α stabilization and glucose utilization were impaired in Hmox1-/- mice compared with wild-type mice. Experiments exposing dermal fibroblasts to hypoxia (1% O2) recapitulated these key findings. Metabolomics analyses indicated a failure of Hmox1-/- mice to adapt cellular energy reprogramming in response to ischemia. Prolyl-4-hydroxylase inhibition stabilized HIF-1α in Hmox1-/- fibroblasts and ischemic skeletal muscle, decreased tissue necrosis and autoamputation, and restored cellular metabolism to that of wild-type mice. Mechanistic studies showed that carbon monoxide stabilized HIF-1α in Hmox1-/- fibroblasts in response to hypoxia.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Hmox1 acts both downstream and upstream of HIF-1α, and that stabilization of HIF-1α contributes to Hmox1's protection against ischemic injury independent of neovascularization.
|Journal||Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology|
|Early online date||19 Nov 2020|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2020|
- hypoxia-inducible factor-1
- cardiovascular disease
- heme oxygenase-1