Endothelial dysfunction plays a crucial role in the progress of diabetic vasculopathy. C1q/tumor necrosis factor–related protein 13 (CTRP13) is a secreted adipokine that can ameliorate atherosclerosis and vascular calcification. However, the role of CTRP13 in regulating endothelial function in diabetes has yet to be explored. In this study, CTRP13 treatment improved endothelium-dependent relaxation in the aortae and mesenteric arteries of both db/db mice and streptozotocin-injected mice. CTRP13 supplement also rescued the impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation ex vivo in the db/db mouse aortae and in high glucose (HG)–treated mouse aortae. Additionally, CTRP13 treatment reduced reactive oxygen species overproduction and improved nitric oxide (NO) production and endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) coupling in the aortae of diabetic mice and in HG-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Mechanistically, CTRP13 could increase GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1) expression and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) levels to ameliorate eNOS coupling. More importantly, CTRP13 rescued HG-induced inhibition of protein kinase A (PKA) activity. Increased PKA activity enhanced phosphorylation of the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor α and its recruitment to the GCH1 promoter, thus activating GCH1 transcription and, ultimately, endothelial relaxation. Together, these results suggest that CTRP13 preserves endothelial function in diabetic mice by regulating GCH1/BH4 axis-dependent eNOS coupling, suggesting the therapeutic potential of CTRP13 against diabetic vasculopathy.
- Received June 27, 2019.
- Accepted October 21, 2019.
- © 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.