The anti-ageing hormone klotho induces Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defences in human aortic smooth muscle cells

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Vascular ageing in conditions such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, is associated with the activation of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) and diminished expression of antioxidant defences mediated by the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). The anti-ageing hormone klotho promotes longevity and protects against cardiovascular and renal diseases. Klotho has been shown to activate Nrf2 and attenuate oxidative damage in neuronal cells, however, the mechanisms by which it protects against vascular smooth muscle cell VSMC dysfunction elicited by Angiotensin II (AngII) remain to be elucidated. AngII contributes to vascular ageing and atherogenesis by enhancing VSMC oxidative stress, senescence and apoptosis. This study demonstrates that soluble klotho (1 nM, 24 hrs) significantly induces expression of Nrf2 and the antioxidant enzymes haeme oxygenase (HO-1) and peroxiredoxin-1 (Prx-1) and enhances glutathione levels in human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMC). Silencing of Nrf2 attenuated the induction of HO-1 and Prx-1 expression by soluble klotho. Furthermore, soluble klotho protected against AngII-mediated HASMC apoptosis and senescence via activation of Nrf2. Thus, our findings highlight a novel Nrf2-mediated mechanism underlying the protective actions of soluble klotho in HAMSC. Targeting klotho may thus represent a therapeutic strategy against VSMC dysfunction and cardiovascular ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-627
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Ageing
  • Angiotensin II
  • Antioxidant
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Glutathione
  • Haeme oxygenase-1
  • Klotho
  • Nrf2
  • Peroxiredoxin-1
  • Vascular smooth muscle


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