Downregulation of circulating MOTS-c levels in patients with coronary endothelial dysfunction

Qing Qin, Silvia Delrio, Junxiang Wan, R. Jay Widmer, Pinchas Cohen, Lilach O. Lerman, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: MOTS-c is one of the newly identified mitochondrial-derived peptides which play a role in regulating metabolic homeostasis. The current study aimed to investigate whether circulating MOTS-c levels are also associated with endothelial dysfunction(ED) in patients without significant structural coronary lesions. Methods: Forty patients undergoing coronary angiography and endothelial function testing for clinical indications of recurrent angina with no structural coronary lesions were included in the study. They were divided into two groups based on coronary blood flow response to intracoronary acetylcholine (ACh) as normal endothelial function (≥ 50% increase from baseline) or ED, (n = 20 each). Aortic plasma samples were collected at the time of catheterization for analysis of circulating MOTS-c levels by ELISA. The effect of MOTS-c on vascular reactivity was assessed in organ chambers using aortic rings collected from rats and renal artery stenosis (RAS) mice. Results: Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups. MOTS-c plasma levels were lower in patients with ED compared with patients with normal endothelial function (p = 0.007). Furthermore, plasma MOTS-c levels were positively correlated with microvascular (p = 0.01) and epicardial (p = 0.02) coronary endothelial function. Although MOTS-c did not have direct vasoactive effects, pretreating aortic rings from rats or RAS mice with MOTS-c (2 μg/ml) improved vessel responsiveness to ACh compared with vessels without MOTS-c treatment. Conclusion: Lower circulating endogenous MOTS-c levels in human subjects are associated with impaired coronary endothelial function. In rodents, MOTS-c improves endothelial function in vitro. Thus, MOTS-c represents a novel potential therapeutic target in patients with ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • MOTS-c
  • Mitochondrial derived peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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