Modulation of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) induced damage to vascular smooth muscle cells by thiocyanate and selenium analogues

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The production of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) by myeloperoxidase (MPO) plays a key role in immune defense, but also induces host tissue damage, particularly in chronic inflammatory pathologies, including atherosclerosis. This has sparked interest in the development of therapeutic approaches that decrease HOCl formation during chronic inflammation, including the use of alternative MPO substrates. Thiocyanate (SCN) supplementation decreases HOCl production by favouring formation of hypothiocyanous acid (HOSCN), which is more selectively toxic to bacterial cells. Selenium-containing compounds are also attractive therapeutic agents as they react rapidly with HOCl and can be catalytically recycled. In this study, we examined the ability of SCN, selenocyanate (SeCN) and selenomethionine (SeMet) to modulate HOCl-induced damage to human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMC), which are critical to both normal vessel function and lesion formation in atherosclerosis. Addition of SCN prevented HOCl-induced cell death, altered the pattern and extent of intracellular thiol oxidation, and decreased perturbations to calcium homeostasis and pro-inflammatory signaling. Protection was also observed with SeCN and SeMet, though SeMet was less effective than SeCN and SCN. Amelioration of damage was detected with sub-stoichiometric ratios of the added compound to HOCl. The effects of SCN are consistent with conversion of HOCl to HOSCN. Whilst SeCN prevented HOCl-induced damage to a similar extent to SCN, the resulting product hyposelenocyanous acid (HOSeCN), was more toxic to HCASMC than HOSCN. These results provide support for the use of SCN and/or selenium analogues as scavengers, to decrease HOCl-induced cellular damage and HOCl production at inflammatory sites in atherosclerosis and other pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101873
JournalRedox Biology
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Research areas

  • Atherosclerosis, Inflammation, Myeloperoxidase, Selenocyanate, Selenomethionine, Thiocyanate

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