Insulin-dependent activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase is impaired by O-linked glycosylation modification of signaling proteins in human coronary endothelial cells.
BACKGROUND: Hyperglycemia impairs functional properties of cytosolic and nuclear proteins via O-linked glycosylation modification (O-GlcNAcylation). We studied the effects of O-GlcNAcylation on insulin signaling in human coronary artery endothelial cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: O-GlcNAcylation impaired the metabolic branch of insulin signaling, ie, insulin receptor (IR) activation of the IR substrate (IRS)/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt, whereas it enhanced the mitogenic branch, ie, ERK-1/2 and p38 (mitogen-activated protein kinase). Both in vivo and in vitro phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) by Akt were reduced by hyperglycemia and hexosamine activation. Insulin-induced eNOS activity in vivo was reduced by hyperglycemia and hexosamine activation, which was coupled to increased activation and expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9; these phenomena were reversed by inhibition of the hexosamine pathway. Finally, carotid plaques from type 2 diabetic patients showed increased endothelial O-GlcNAcylation with respect to nondiabetics. CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that hyperglycemia, through the hexosamine pathway, impairs activation of the IR/IRS/PI3-K/Akt pathway, resulting in deregulation of eNOS activity.