Purdue University Graduate School
PhD dissertation Yizhi revision v3 121021.pdf (6.46 MB)


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posted on 2022-09-07, 14:48 authored by Yizhi JiangYizhi Jiang
As aging proceeds, the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases increases independent of other risk factors. At atherosclerotic sites, the rise in the senescent cell population was also observed. Patients with Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) also showed accelerated aging syndromes and extensive atherosclerosis progression, which was due to missense mutations on the LMNA gene that led to the production of progerin, an aberrant lamin A isoform instead of regular lamin A protein. Lamins act as structural and functional components in nuclear lamina, and recent findings suggested that the ectopic expression of mutant lamin A or lamin A precursor (prelamin A) not only caused defects in cell mechanics but also disturbed mechanotransduction pathways involving lamin A, both of which may contribute to vascular dysregulation. Moreover, the observation of the accumulation of prelamin A in normal aged vascular cells further suggests shared dysregulations involving lamin A in the vascular system between aged people and HGPS patients.
In the vascular system, endothelial cells were well regulated by hemodynamic forces in vivo to maintain vascular homeostasis. Endothelial dysfunction, including impaired vasodilation and increased permeability, was regarded as the initial marker of atherosclerosis. Despite recent advancements and discussions about the potential mechanisms of progerin-induced vascular disorders, how progerin triggers endothelial dysfunction in a mechanical environment as an early event during atherosclerotic lesion formation has not been studied intensively.
To help answer the gap question, we first set our goal to understand the effect of laminar flow at arterial levels on endothelial lamins as part of the aging process. Spatial and temporal changes in lamin A/C expression were observed as cell passage went up without flow present. As shear stress was applied, lamin A/C expressions were modulated on both transcriptional and translational levels, which were also dependent on PDL. To further examine how progerin was involved in EC functions with a particular focus on the flow effects, we next generated a stable endothelial cell line that expressed progerin as our EC aging model. Endothelial wound repair under laminar flow at different rates was characterized, and differential cell proliferation activities, as well as migration deficiencies in progerin-expressing ECs during the process, were also recognized. Furthermore, we also showed the overactivated mTORC2 pathway and unusual actin polymerization activities in these cells after flow application. Our results reported changes in cell migration by progerin with flow application for the first time and provided potential candidate pathways that were disturbed by progerin under arterial flow, which may help explain the high occurrence of atherosclerotic lesions in HGPS vasculature, even at straight portion. The reported progerin-induced wound recovery defects in endothelial cells in the presence of physiological flow may also suggest a mechanism of how progerin disturbs endothelial integrity and functions under mechanical stimuli in the development of vascular pathologies.
Further extended studies may help to understand the roles of progerin in initiating atherosclerosis, which will aid in the development of potential therapies for those suffering from prelamin A-associated accelerated aging syndromes.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Biomedical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Julie Ji

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Sungsoo Na

Additional Committee Member 2

Sherry Voytik-Harbin

Additional Committee Member 3

Richard Gregory