Document Type


Publication Date



This article is the author’s final published version in Cell Death and Disease, Volume 12, Issue 6, June 2021, Article number 508.

The published version is available at Copyright © Gao et al.


There is limited and discordant evidence on the role of nicotine in diabetic vascular disease. Exacerbated endothelial cell dysregulation in smokers with diabetes is associated with the disrupted adipose function. Adipokines possess vascular protective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. However, whether and how nicotine primes and aggravates diabetic vascular disorders remain uncertain. In this study, we evaluated the alteration of adiponectin (APN) level in high-fat diet (HFD) mice with nicotine (NIC) administration. The vascular pathophysiological response was evaluated with vascular ring assay. Confocal and co-immunoprecipitation analysis were applied to identify the signal interaction and transduction. These results indicated that the circulating APN level in nicotine-administrated diabetic Apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice was elevated in advance of 2 weeks of diabetic ApoE−/− mice. NIC and NIC addition in HFD groups (NIC + HFD) reduced the vascular relaxation and signaling response to APN at 6 weeks. Mechanistically, APN receptor 1 (AdipoR1) level was decreased in NIC and further significantly reduced in NIC + HFD group at 6 weeks, while elevated suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) expression was induced by NIC and further augmented in NIC + HFD group. Additionally, nicotine provoked SOCS3, degraded AdipoR1, and attenuated APN-activated ERK1/2 in the presence of high glucose and high lipid (HG/HL) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). MG132 (proteasome inhibitor) administration manifested that AdipoR1 was ubiquitinated, while inhibited SOCS3 rescued the reduced AdipoR1. In summary, this study demonstrated for the first time that nicotine primed vascular APN resistance via SOCS3-mediated degradation of ubiquitinated AdipoR1, accelerating diabetic endothelial dysfunction. This discovery provides a potential therapeutic target for preventing nicotine-accelerated diabetic vascular dysfunction.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID