The roles of ERK1/2 and PI3K in abnormal vascular functions in angiotensin II-infused hypertensive rats
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Background: Ang II plays a major role in cardiovascular regulation. Recently, it has become apparent that vascular superoxide anion may play an important role in hypertension development. Treatment with antisense NAD(P)H oxidase or SOD decreased BP in Ang II-infused rats. Wang et al recently reported mice which lack one of the subunits of NAD(P)H oxidase developed hypertension at a much lower extent when compared to the wild type animals infused with Ang II, indicating that superoxide anion contributes to elevation in BP in the Ang II-infused hypertensive model. In the Ang II-infused hypertensive model, altered reactivity of blood vessels is often associated with the elevation of systolic blood pressure. We have observed abnormal tension development and impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation in the isolated aorta of Ang II-infused and DOCA-salt hypertensive rats. Recently, several other cellular signal molecules, including ERK1I2 and PI3K, have been determined to play important roles in the regulation of smooth muscle contraction and relaxation. ERKl/2 and PI3K pathways are also reported to contribute to Ang II induced cell growth, hypertrophy, remodeling and contraction. Moreover, these signaling pathways have shown ROS-sensitive properties. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to investigate the roles of ERKl12 and PI3K in vascular oxidative stress, spontaneous tone and impaired endothelium relaxation in Ang II-infused hypertensive model. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that the activation of ERKl12 and PI3K are elevated in response to an Ang II infusion for 6 days. The elevated activation of phospho-ERKl/2 and PI3K mediated the increased level of vascular superoxide anion, the abnormal vascular contraction and impaired endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. Methods: Vascular superoxide anion level is measured by lucigenin chemiluminescence. Spontaneous tone and ACh-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation was measured by isometric tension recording in organ chamber. The activity of ERK pathway will be measured by its Western blot of phosphorylation of ERK. PI3K activity was evaluated indirectly by Western blot of the phosphorylation of PDKl, a downstream protein of PI3K signaling pathway. The role of each pathway was also addressed via comparing the responses to the specific inhibitors. Results: Superoxide anion was markedly increased in the isolated thoracic aorta from Ang II-infused rats. There was spontaneous tone developed in rings from Ang II-induced hypertensive but not sham-operated normotensive rats. ACh-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation function is impaired in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. Superoxide dismutase and NAD(P)H oxidase inhibitor, apocynin, inhibited the abnormal spontaneous tone and ameliorated impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation. The expression of phopho-ERKII2 was enhanced in Ang II-infused rats, indicating the activity of ERK1I2 could be increased. MEK1I2 inhibitors, PD98059 and U126, but not their inactive analogues, SB203580 and U124, significantly reduced the vascular superoxide anion in aortas from Ang II-infused rats. The MEK1I2 inhibitors reduced the spontaneous tone and improved the impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation in aorta of hypertension. These findings supported the role of ERKII2 signaling pathway in vascular oxidative stress, spontaneous tone and impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. The amount of phospho-PDK, a downstream protein of PI3K was increased in Ang II rats indicating the activity of PI3K activity was elevated. Strikingly, PI3K significantly inhibited the increase of superoxide anion level, abnormal spontaneous tone and restored endothelium-dependent relaxation in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. These findings indicated the important role of PI3K in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. Conclusion: ERKII2 and PI3K signaling pathways are sustained activated in Ang II-infused hypertensive rats. The activated ERKII2 and PI3K mediate the increase of vascular superoxide anion level, vascular abnormal spontaneous tone and impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation.