Hyperandrogenemia reduces endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor-mediated relaxation in mesenteric artery of female rats.
ABSTRACT: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are often presented with hyperandrogenemia along with vascular dysfunction and elevated blood pressure. In animal models of PCOS, anti-androgen treatment decreased blood pressure, indicating a key role for androgens in the development of hypertension. However, the underlying androgen-mediated mechanism that contributes to increased blood pressure is not known. This study determined whether elevated androgens affect endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-mediated vascular relaxation responses through alteration in function of gap junctional proteins. Female rats were implanted with placebo or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) pellets (7.5 mg, 90-day release). After 12 weeks of DHT exposure, blood pressure was assessed through carotid arterial catheter and endothelium-dependent mesenteric arterial EDHF relaxation using wire myograph. Connexin expression in mesenteric arteries was also examined. Elevated DHT significantly increased mean arterial pressure and decreased endothelium-dependent EDHF-mediated acetylcholine relaxation. Inhibition of Cx40 did not have any effect, while inhibition of Cx37 decreased EDHF relaxation to a similar magnitude in both controls and DHT females. On the other hand, inhibition of Cx43 significantly attenuated EDHF relaxation in mesenteric arteries of controls but not DHT females. Elevated DHT did not alter Cx37 or Cx40, but decreased Cx43 mRNA and protein levels in mesenteric arteries. In vitro exposure of DHT to cultured mesenteric artery smooth muscle cells dose-dependently downregulated Cx43 expression. In conclusion, increased blood pressure in hyperandrogenic females is due, at least in part, to decreased EDHF-mediated vascular relaxation responses. Decreased Cx43 expression and activity may play a role in contributing to androgen-induced decrease in EDHF function.
Project description:Connexins (Cxs) play a role in the contractility of the aorta wall. We investigated how connexins of the endothelial cells (ECs; Cx37, Cx40) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs; Cx43, Cx45) of the aorta change during renin-dependent and -independent hypertension.We subjected both wild-type (WT) mice and mice lacking Cx40 (Cx40(-/-)), to either a two-kidney, one-clip procedure or to N-nitro-l-arginine-methyl-ester treatment, which induce renin-dependent and -independent hypertension, respectively. All hypertensive mice featured a thickened aortic wall, increased levels of Cx37 and Cx45 in SMC, and of Cx40 in EC (except in Cx40(-/-) mice). Cx43 was up-regulated, with no effect on its S368 phosphorylation, only in the SMCs of renin-dependent models of hypertension. Blockade of the renin-angiotensin system of Cx40(-/-) mice normalized blood pressure and prevented both aortic thickening and Cx alterations. Ex vivo exposure of WT aortas, carotids, and mesenteric arteries to physiologically relevant levels of angiotensin II (AngII) increased the levels of Cx43, but not of other Cx. In the aortic SMC line of A7r5 cells, AngII activated kinase-dependent pathways and induced binding of the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) to the Cx43 gene promoter, increasing Cx43 expression.In both large and small arteries, hypertension differently regulates Cx expression in SMC and EC layers. Cx43 is selectively increased in renin-dependent hypertension via an AngII activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and NF-kappaB pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Gap junctional calcium signal propagation (transfer of calcium or a calcium releasing messenger via gap junctions) between vascular cells has been shown to be involved in the control of vascular tone. We have shown before that nitric oxide (NO) inhibits gap junctional communication in HeLa cells exclusively expressing connexin 37 (HeLa-Cx37) but not in HeLa-Cx40 or HeLa-Cx43. Here we studied the effect of NO on the gap junctional calcium signal propagation in endothelial cells which, in addition to Cx37, also express Cx40 and Cx43. Furthermore, we analyzed the impact of NO on intermuscle and on myoendothelial gap junction-dependent calcium signal propagation. Since specific effects of NO at one of these three junctional areas (interendothelial/ myoendothelial/ intermuscle) may depend on a differential membrane localization of the connexins, we also studied the distribution of the vascular connexins in small resistance arteries. RESULTS: In endothelial (HUVEC) or smooth muscle cells (HUVSMC) alone, NO did not affect gap junctional Ca2+ signal propagation as assessed by analyzing the spread of Ca2+ signals after mechanical stimulation of a single cell. In contrast, at myoendothelial junctions, it decreased Ca2+ signal propagation in both directions by about 60% (co-cultures of HUVEC and HUVSMC). This resulted in a longer maintenance of calcium elevation at the endothelial side and a faster calcium signal propagation at the smooth muscle side, respectively. Immunohistochemical stainings (confocal and two-photon-microscopy) of cells in co-cultures or of small arteries revealed that Cx37 expression was relatively higher in endothelial cells adjoining smooth muscle (culture) or in potential areas of myoendothelial junctions (arteries). Accordingly, Cx37 - in contrast to Cx40 - was not only expressed on the endothelial surface of small arteries but also in deeper layers (corresponding to the internal elastic lamina IEL). Holes of the IEL where myoendothelial contacts can only occur, stained significantly more frequently for Cx37 and Cx43 than for Cx40 (endothelium) or Cx45 (smooth muscle). CONCLUSION: NO modulates the calcium signal propagation specifically between endothelial and smooth muscle cells. The effect is due to an augmented distribution of Cx37 towards myoendothelial contact areas and potentially counteracts endothelial Ca2+ signal loss from endothelial to smooth muscle cells. This targeted effect of NO may optimize calcium dependent endothelial vasomotor function.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To investigate whether diabetes affects either or both nitric oxide (NO)-mediated and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-type relaxation in endothelium-dependent relaxation of mesenteric arteries from streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Wire myography was employed to examine endothelial function of mesenteric arteries. Superoxide levels were measured by L-012 and lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. Western blotting was used to quantify protein expression levels. KEY RESULTS: Superoxide levels were significantly increased in diabetic mesenteric arteries compared with normal arteries. Diabetes significantly reduced the sensitivity to the endothelium-dependent relaxant, acetylcholine (ACh) in mesenteric arteries. When the contribution of NO to relaxation was abolished by N-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) + a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor (ODQ), the sensitivity to ACh was significantly decreased in the diabetic arteries compared with normal arteries, indicating an impaired EDHF-type relaxation despite increased expression of intermediate- and small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels. Conversely, when the contribution of EDHF was inhibited with TRAM-34 + apamin + iberiotoxin, maximum relaxations to ACh were significantly decreased in diabetic compared with normal arteries, suggesting that the contribution of NO was also impaired by diabetes. Basal levels of NO release, indicated by contraction to L-NNA, were also significantly decreased in diabetic arteries. Western blot analysis demonstrated that diabetic arteries had an increased expression of Nox2, decreased pSer??³ Akt and a reduced proportion of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expressed as a dimer, indicating uncoupling. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The contribution of both NO and EDHF-type relaxations was impaired in diabetes and was caused by increased oxidative stress, decreased pSer??³ Akt and/or eNOS uncoupling.
Project description:Connexins (Cx) are essential for cardiovascular regulation and maintenance of cardio-renal response involving the natriuretic peptide family. Changes in the expression of connexins promote intercellular communication dysfunction and may induce hypertension, atherosclerosis, and several other vascular diseases. This study analyzed the expression of the genes involved in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and the relation of the connexins gene expression with the renovascular hypertension 2K1C in different tissues. The insertion of a silver clip induced renovascular hypertension 2K1C into the left renal artery. Biochemical measurements were made using commercial kits. Gene expression was evaluated in the liver, heart, and kidneys by RT-PCR. The genes investigated were LDLr, Hmgcr, Agt, Ren, Ace, Agtr1a, Anp, Bnp, Npr1, Cx26, Cx32, Cx37, Cx40 and Cx43. All genes involved in the RAS presented increased transcriptional levels in the 2K1C group, except hepatic Agt. The natriuretic peptides (Anp; Bnp) and the receptor genes (Npr1) appeared to increase in the heart, however, Npr1 decreased in the kidneys. In hepatic tissue, hypertension promoted increased expression of Cx32, Cx37, and Cx40 genes however, Cx26 and Cx43 genes were not influenced. Expression was upregulated for Cx37 and Cx43 in cardiac tissue in the 2K1C group, but Cx40 did not demonstrate any difference between groups. The stenotic kidney showed an upregulated expression for Cx37 vs Sham and contralateral kidney, although Cx40 and Cx43 were downregulated. Hypertension did not modify the transcriptional expression of Cx26 and Cx32. Therefore, this study indicated that RAS and cardiac response were regulated transcriptionally by renovascular hypertension 2K1C. Moreover, the results of connexin gene expression demonstrated differential transcriptional regulation in different tissues studied and suggest a relationship between cardiac and renal physiological changes as an adaptive mechanism to the hypertensive state.
Project description:Gap junction channels formed by connexin (Cx) protein subunits enable cell-to-cell conduction of vasoactive signals. Given the lack of quantitative measurements of Cx expression in microvascular endothelial cells (EC) and smooth muscle cells (SMC), the objective was to determine whether Cx expression differed between EC and SMC of resistance microvessels for which conduction is well-characterized.Cheek pouch arterioles (CPA) and retractor feed arteries (RFA) were hand-dissected and dissociated to obtain SMC or endothelial tubes. In complementary experiments, small intestine was dissociated to obtain SMC. Following reverse transcription, quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed by using specific primers and fluorescent probes for Cx37, Cx40, and Cx43. Smooth muscle alpha-actin (SMAA) and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) served as respective reference genes.Transcript copy numbers were similar for each Cx isoform in EC from CPA and RFA (approximately 0.5 Cx/PECAM-1). For SMC, Cx43 transcript in CPA and RFA (< 0.1 Cx/SMAA) was less (p < 0.05) than that in small intestine (approximately 0.4 Cx/SMAA). Transcripts for Cx37 and Cx40 were also detected in SMC. Punctate immunolabeling for each Cx isoform was pronounced at EC borders and that for Cx43 was pronounced in SMC of small intestine. In contrast, Cx immunolabeling was not detected in SMC of CPA or RFA.Connexin expression occurs primarily within the endothelium of arterioles and feed arteries, supporting a highly effective pathway for conducting vasoactive signals along resistance networks. The apparent paucity of Cx expression within SMC underscores discrete homocellular coupling and focal localization of myoendothelial gap junctions.
Project description:Gap junction channels composed of connexins connect cells, allowing intercellular communication. Their cellular assembly involves a unique quality-control pathway. Some connexins [including connexin43 (Cx43) and Cx46] oligomerize in the trans-Golgi network following export of stabilized monomers from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In contrast, other connexins (e.g., Cx32) oligomerize early in the secretory pathway. Amino acids near the cytoplasmic aspect of the third transmembrane domain have previously been shown to determine this difference in assembly sites. Here, we characterized the oligomerization of two connexins expressed prominently in the vasculature, Cx37 and Cx40, using constructs containing a C-terminal dilysine-based ER retention/retrieval signal (HKKSL) or treatment with brefeldin A to block ER vesicle trafficking. Both methods led to intracellular retention of connexins, since the cells lacked gap junction plaques. Retention of Cx40 in the ER prevented it from oligomerizing, comparable to Cx43. By contrast, ER-retained Cx37 was partially oligomerized. Replacement of two amino acids near the third transmembrane domain of Cx43 (L152 and R153) with the corresponding amino acids from Cx37 (M152 and G153) resulted in early oligomerization in the ER. Thus, residues that allow Cx37 to oligomerize early in the secretory pathway could restrict its interactions with coexpressed Cx40 or Cx43 by favoring homomeric oligomerization, providing a structural basis for cells to produce gap junction channels with different connexin composition.
Project description:BACKGROUND:3',4'-Dihydroxyflavonol (DiOHF) is an effective antioxidant that acutely preserves nitric oxide (NO) activity in the presence of elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS). We hypothesized that DiOHF treatment (7 days, 1 mg/kg per day s.c.) would improve relaxation in mesenteric arteries from diabetic rats where endothelial dysfunction is associated with elevated oxidant stress. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In mesenteric arteries from diabetic rats there was an increase in ROS, measured by L-012 and 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate fluorescence. NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide levels, assayed by lucigenin chemiluminescence, were also significantly increased in diabetic mesenteric arteries (diabetes, 4892±946 counts/mg versus normal 2486±344 counts/mg, n?=?7-10, p<0.01) associated with an increase in Nox2 expression but DiOHF (2094±300 counts/mg, n?=?10, p<0.001) reversed that effect. Acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxation of mesenteric arteries was assessed using wire myography (pEC(50)?=?7.94±0.13 n?=?12). Diabetes significantly reduced the sensitivity to ACh and treatment with DiOHF prevented endothelial dysfunction (pEC(50), diabetic 6.86±0.12 versus diabetic+DiOHF, 7.49±0.13, n?=?11, p<0.01). The contribution of NO versus endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) to ACh-induced relaxation was assessed by evaluating responses in the presence of TRAM-34+apamin+iberiotoxin or N-nitro-L-arginine+ODQ respectively. Diabetes impaired the contribution of both NO (maximum relaxation, R(max) diabetic 24±7 versus normal, 68±10, n?=?9-10, p<0.01) and EDHF (pEC(50), diabetic 6.63±0.15 versus normal, 7.14±0.12, n?=?10-11, p<0.01) to endothelium-dependent relaxation. DiOHF treatment did not significantly affect the EDHF contribution but enhanced NO-mediated relaxation (R(max) 69±6, n?=?11, p<0.01). Western blotting demonstrated that diabetes also decreased expression and increased uncoupling of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Treatment of the diabetic rats with DiOHF significantly reduced vascular ROS and restored NO-mediated endothelium-dependent relaxation. Treatment of the diabetic rats with DiOHF also increased eNOS expression, both in total and as a dimer. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:DiOHF improves NO activity in diabetes by reducing Nox2-dependent superoxide production and preventing eNOS uncoupling to improve endothelial function.
Project description:Pre-menopausal females have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease compared with age-matched males, implying differences in the mechanisms and pathways regulating vasoactivity. In small arteries, myogenic tone (constriction in response to raised intraluminal pressure) is a major determinant of vascular resistance. Endothelium-derived dilators, particularly NO, tonically moderate myogenic tone and, because the endothelium is an important target for female sex hormones, we investigated whether NO-mediated moderation of myogenic tone differed between the sexes.Pressure-diameter or relaxation concentration-response curves to the NO donor spermine-NO or soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulation (BAY41-2272) were constructed before and following drug intervention in murine mesenteric resistance arteries. Hypotensive responses to activators of the NO-sGC pathway were determined. Quantitative PCR and Western blotting were used for expression analysis.NO synthase inhibition enhanced myogenic tone of arteries of both sexes while block of endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) enhanced responses in arteries of females only. Spermine-NO concentration-dependently relaxed mesenteric arteries isolated from either sex. However, while inhibition of sGC activity attenuated responses of arteries from male mice only, endothelial denudation attenuated responses of arteries from females only. BAY41-2272 and spermine-NO-induced vasodilatation and hypotension were greater in males than in females.NO moderated myogenic tone in arteries of male mice by a sGC-dependent pathway while EDHF was the predominant endothelial regulator in arteries of females. This is a potentially important sexual dimorphism in NO-mediated reactivity and further implicates EDHF as the predominant endothelial vasodilator in female resistance arteries.
Project description:1. Acetycholine-mediated relaxations in phenylephrine-contracted aortas, femoral and mesenteric resistance arteries were studied in vessels from endothelial nitric oxide synthase knock-out (eNOS -/-) and the corresponding wild-type strain (eNOS +/+) C57BL6/SV19 mice. 2. Aortas from eNOS (+/+) mice relaxed to acetylcholine in an endothelium-dependent NG-nitro-L-arginine (L-NOARG) sensitive manner. Aortas from eNOS (-/-) mice did not relax to acetylcholine but demonstrated enhanced sensitivity to both authentic NO and sodium nitroprusside. 3. Relaxation to acetylcholine in femoral arteries was partially inhibited by L-NOARG in vessels from eNOS (+/+) mice, but relaxation in eNOS (-/-) mice was insensitive to a combination of L-NOARG and indomethacin and the guanylyl cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2, 4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ). The L-NOARG/ODQ/indomethacin-insensitive relaxation to acetylcholine in femoral arteries was inhibited in the presence of elevated (30 mM) extracellular KCl. 4. In mesenteric resistance vessels from eNOS (+/+) mice, the acetylcholine-mediated relaxation response was completely inhibited by a combination of indomethacin and L-NOARG or by 30 mM KCl alone. In contrast, in mesenteric arteries from eNOS (-/-) mice, the acetylcholine-relaxation response was insensitive to a combination of L-NOARG and indomethacin, but was inhibited in the presence of 30 mM KCl. 5. These data indicate arteries from eNOS (-/-) mice demonstrate a supersensitivity to exogenous NO, and that acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation of femoral and mesenteric vessels from eNOS (-/-) mice is mediated by an endothelium-derived factor that has properties of an EDHF but is neither NO nor prostacyclin. Furthermore, in mesenteric vessels, there is an upregulation of the role of EDHF in the absence of NO.
Project description:Regulator of G protein signaling 2 (RGS2) is a GTPase-activating protein for G(q/11)? and G(i/o)? subunits. RGS2 deficiency is linked to hypertension in mice and humans, although causative mechanisms are not understood. Because endothelial dysfunction and increased peripheral resistance are hallmarks of hypertension, determining whether RGS2 regulates microvascular reactivity may reveal mechanisms relevant to cardiovascular disease. Here we have determined the effects of systemic versus endothelium- or vascular smooth muscle-specific deletion of RGS2 on microvascular contraction and relaxation. Contraction and relaxation of mesenteric resistance arteries were analyzed in response to phenylephrine, sodium nitroprusside, or acetylcholine with or without inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) synthase or K(+) channels that mediate endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-dependent relaxation. The results showed that deleting RGS2 in vascular smooth muscle had minor effects. Systemic or endothelium-specific deletion of RGS2 strikingly inhibited acetylcholine-evoked relaxation. Endothelium-specific deletion of RGS2 had little effect on NO-dependent relaxation but markedly impaired EDHF-dependent relaxation. Acute, inducible deletion of RGS2 in endothelium did not affect blood pressure significantly. Impaired EDHF-mediated vasodilatation was rescued by blocking G(i/o)? activation with pertussis toxin. These findings indicated that systemic or endothelium-specific RGS2 deficiency causes endothelial dysfunction resulting in impaired EDHF-dependent vasodilatation. RGS2 deficiency enables endothelial G(i/o) activity to inhibit EDHF-dependent relaxation, whereas RGS2 sufficiency facilitates EDHF-evoked relaxation by squelching endothelial G(i/o) activity. Mutation or down-regulation of RGS2 in hypertension patients therefore may contribute to endothelial dysfunction and defective EDHF-dependent relaxation. Blunting G(i/o) signaling might improve endothelial function in such patients.