Hyperlipidemia is a risk factor for abnormal cerebrovascular events. Rafts are cholesterol-enriched membrane microdomains that influence signal transduction. We previously showed that Rho-kinase-mediated Ca 2+ sensitization of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) induced by sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) has a pivotal role in cerebral vasospasm. The goals of the study were to show SPC-Rho-kinase-mediated VSM contraction in vivo and to link this effect to cholesterol and rafts. The SPC-induced VSM contraction measured using a cranial window model was reversed by Y-27632, a Rho-kinase inhibitor, in rats fed a control diet. The extent of SPC-induced contraction correlated with serum total cholesterol. Total cholesterol levels in the internal carotid artery (ICA) were significantly higher in rats fed a cholesterol diet compared with a control diet or a β-cyclodextrin diet, which depletes VSM cholesterol. Western blotting and real-time PCR revealed increases in flotillin-1, a raft marker, and flotillin-1 mRNA in the ICA in rats fed a cholesterol diet, but not in rats fed the β-cyclodextrin diet. Depletion of cholesterol decreased rafts in VSM cells, and prevention of an increase in cholesterol by β-cyclodextrin inhibited SPC-induced contraction in a cranial window model. These results indicate that cholesterol potentiates SPC-Rho-kinase-mediated contractions of importance in cerebral vasospasm and are compatible with a role for rafts in this process.
- lipid rafts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine