Rac1 accelerates endothelial cell senescence induced by hypoxia in vitro

Ya Ling Han, Hai Bo Yu, Cheng Hui Yan, Jian Kang, Zi Min Meng, Xiao Lin Zhang, Shao Hua Li, Shi Wen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To investigate the role and mechanism of Rac1 protein in the process of the human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) senescence, we used hypoxia as a model for modulating HUVECs entering replicative senescence in vitro. Premature senescence of HUVECs was evidenced by detecting the SA-beta-Gal activity and PAI-1 expression. Meanwhile, cell cycle distribution and cell proliferation rate were investigated by flow cytometry assay and BrdU staining. The results indicated that the HUVECs became enlarged and flattened, both SA-beta-Gal activity and PAI-1 expression increased obviously, while cell proliferation was inhibited and G(1) phase cell cycle arresting occurred when HUVECs were treated with continued hypoxia for 96 h. Accompanied with these changes, the expression of activated Rac1 increased obviously in cells after hypoxia. All these observations suggested that endothelial senescence could be induced by continued hypoxia and it might correlate with the activity of Rac1. To further define the relationship between Rac1 and HUVEC senescence, HUVECs were transiently infected with the constitutively active form of Rac1 (V12Rac1) or dominant negative form of Rac1 (N17Rac1) using retrovirus vector pLNCX-V12Rac1 or pLNCX-N17Rac1. We observed the changes of these three kinds of HUVECs (HUVECs, N17Rac1-HUVECs, V12Rac1-HUVECs) after hypoxia for 48 h and 96 h, the expression and localization of serum response factor (SRF), which is one of the downstream signal molecules of Rac1, were also investigated. The results obtained indicated that after continued hypoxia for 48 h, HUVECs infected by V12Rac1 showed obvious senescence accompanied with SA-beta-Gal activation, PAI-1 expression increase, G(1) phase arrest and cell proliferation inhibition which were similar to HUVECs after continued 96-hour hypoxia treatment, while the senescence of HUVECs infected by N17Rac1 was significantly inhibited even if the cells were exposed to hypoxia for more than 96 h. All the results identified that the activation of Rac1 might accelerate HUVEC senescence induced by hypoxia and that inactivation of Rac1 could partly block the cell senescence. To further investigate the mechanism of HUVEC senescence induced by Rac1, we detected the expression of total SRF (tSRF) and nuclear SRF (nSRF) in these three kinds of HUVECs by immunofluorescent analysis and Western blot assay after hypoxia. The results showed that the expression of nSRF decreased obviously and the nuclear translocation of SRF was inhibited in HUVECs infected by V12Rac1 compared with those in the normal HUVECs. In contrast, the expression of nSRF increased obviously in the HUVECs infected by N17Rac1. These results suggest that activation of Rac1 accelerates endothelial cell senescence and inhibition of Rac1 activity prevents HUVECs from entering senescence induced by hypoxia, while the nuclear translocation of SRF regulated by Rac1 might play an important role in the process of senescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalSheng li xue bao : [Acta physiologica Sinica]
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 25 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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