Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Apr 25;12(5):997. doi: 10.3390/antiox12050997.
Atherogenesis involves multiple cell types undergoing robust metabolic processes resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS), and consequent oxidative stress. Carbon monoxide (CO) has been recently explored for its anti-atherogenic potency; however, the effects of CO on ROS generation and mitochondrial dysfunction in atherosclerosis remain unexplored. Herein, we describe the anti-atherogenic efficacy of CORM-A1, a CO donor, in in vitro (ox-LDL-treated HUVEC and MDMs) and in vivo (atherogenic diet-fed SD rats) experimental models. In agreement with previous data, we observed elevated miR-34a-5p levels in all our atherogenic model systems. Administration of CO via CORM-A1 accounted for positive alterations in the expression of miR-34a-5p and transcription factors/inhibitors (P53, NF-κB, ZEB1, SNAI1, and STAT3) and DNA methylation pattern, thereby lowering its countenance in atherogenic milieu. Inhibition of miR-34a-5p expression resulted in restoration of SIRT-1 levels and of mitochondrial biogenesis. CORM-A1 supplementation further accounted for improvement in cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant capacity and subsequent reduction in ROS. Further and most importantly, CORM-A1 restored cellular energetics by improving overall cellular respiration in HUVECs, as evidenced by restored OCR and ECAR rates, whereas a shift from non-mitochondrial to mitochondrial respiration was observed in atherogenic MDMs, evidenced by unaltered glycolytic respiration and maximizing OCR. In agreement with these results, CORM-A1 treatment also accounted for elevated ATP production in both in vivo and in vitro experimental models. Cumulatively, our studies demonstrate for the first time the mechanism of CORM-A1-mediated amelioration of pro-atherogenic manifestations through inhibition of miR-34a-5p expression in the atherogenic milieu and consequential rescue of SIRT1-mediated mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration.