Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a common inflammatory vascular disease. Angiotensin II (Ang II) involves in AAA progression by promoting the proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells, the degradation of extracellular matrices, and the generation of ROS to lead to vascular inflammation. Carbon monoxide releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2) is known to exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. However, it remains unclear whether CORM-2 can suppress Ang II-induced vascular inflammation to prevent AAA progression. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the vasoprotective effects of CORM-2 against Ang II-induced inflammatory responses of human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) and the underlying mechanisms of those effects. The results showed that Ang II induced inflammatory responses of HASMCs via NADPH oxidase- and mitochondria-derived ROS/NF-κB/IL-6/Jak2/Stat3 pathway which was attenuated by the pretreatment with CORM-2. Additionally, CORM-2 further exhibited anti-inflammatory activities in Ang II-stimulated HASMCs, as indicated by the reduction of monocyte adhesion to HASMCs and migration of HASMCs via the suppression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 as well as MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels, respectively. Moreover, Ang II-induced COX-2-mediated PGE2 secretion was also inhibited by the pretreatment with CORM-2. Importantly, our data demonstrated that CORM-2 reversed Ang II-induced IL-6 overexpression dependent on Nrf2 activation and HO-1 expression. Taken together, the present study indicates that CORM-2-induced Nrf2/HO-1 alleviates IL-6/Jak2/Stat3-mediated inflammatory responses to Ang II by inhibiting NADPH oxidase- and mitochondria-derived ROS, suggesting that CORM-2 is a promising pharmacologic candidate to reverse the pathological changes involved in the inflammation of vessel wall for the prevention and treatment of AAA.
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