Heparanase inhibition as a systemic approach to protect the endothelial glycocalyx and prevent microvascular complications in diabetes

Monica Gamez*, Hesham E Elhegni, Sarah Fawaz, Kwan HO, Neill W Campbell, David A Copland, Karen L Onions, Matthew J Butler, Elizabeth Wasson, Michael Crompton, Raina D Ramnath, Yan Qiu, Yu Yamaguchi, Kenton Arkill, David O Bates, Jeremy Turnbull, Olga Zubkova, Gavin I Welsh, Denize Atan, Simon C SatchellRebecca Foster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease which is detrimental to cardiovascular health, often leading to secondary microvascular complications, with huge global health implications. Therapeutic interventions that can be applied to multiple vascular beds are urgently needed. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic kidney disease (DKD) are characterised by early microvascular permeability changes which, if left untreated, lead to visual impairment and renal failure, respectively. The heparan sulphate cleaving enzyme, heparanase, has previously been shown to contribute to diabetic microvascular complications, but the common underlying mechanism which results in microvascular dysfunction in conditions such as DR and DKD has not been determined.

Methods
In this study, two mouse models of heparan sulphate depletion (enzymatic removal and genetic ablation by endothelial specific Exotosin-1 knock down) were utilized to investigate the impact of endothelial cell surface (i.e., endothelial glycocalyx) heparan sulphate loss on microvascular barrier function. Endothelial glycocalyx changes were measured using fluorescence microscopy or transmission electron microscopy. To measure the impact on barrier function, we used sodium fluorescein angiography in the eye and a glomerular albumin permeability assay in the kidney. A type 2 diabetic (T2D, db/db) mouse model was used to determine the therapeutic potential of preventing heparan sulphate damage using treatment with a novel heparanase inhibitor, OVZ/HS-1638. Endothelial glycocalyx changes were measured as above, and microvascular barrier function assessed by albumin extravasation in the eye and a glomerular permeability assay in the kidney.

Results
In both models of heparan sulphate depletion, endothelial glycocalyx depth was reduced and retinal solute flux and glomerular albumin permeability was increased. T2D mice treated with OVZ/HS-1638 had improved endothelial glycocalyx measurements compared to vehicle treated T2D mice and were simultaneously protected from microvascular permeability changes associated with DR and DKD.

Conclusion
We demonstrate that endothelial glycocalyx heparan sulphate plays a common mechanistic role in microvascular barrier function in the eye and kidney. Protecting the endothelial glycocalyx damage in diabetes, using the novel heparanase inhibitor OVZ/HS-1638, effectively prevents microvascular permeability changes associated with DR and DKD, demonstrating a novel systemic approach to address diabetic microvascular complications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Volume23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).

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