Effects of angiotensin II infusion on the expression and function of NAD(P)H oxidase and components of nitric oxide/cGMP signaling

Hanke Mollnau, Maria Wendt, Katalin Szöcs, Bernard Lassègue, Eberhard Schulz, Mathias Oelze, Huige Li, Martin Bodenschatz, Michael August, Andrei L Kleschyov, Nikolaus Tsilimingas, Ulrich Walter, Ulrich Förstermann, Thomas Meinertz, Kathy Griendling, Thomas Münzel
Circulation Research 2002 March 8, 90 (4): E58-65
Angiotensin II infusion causes endothelial dysfunction by increasing NAD(P)H oxidase-mediated vascular superoxide production. However, it remains to be elucidated how in vivo angiotensin II treatment may alter the expression of the gp91(phox) isoforms and the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS III) and subsequent signaling events and whether, in addition to the NAD(P)H oxidase, NOS III contributes to vascular superoxide formation. We therefore studied the influence of in vivo angiotensin II treatment (7 days) in rats on endothelial function and on the expression of the NAD(P)H oxidase subunits p22(phox), nox1, nox4, and gp91(phox) and NOS III. Further analysis included the expression of NO-downstream targets, the soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), the cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGK-I), and the expression and phosphorylation of the vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) at Ser239 (P-VASP). Angiotensin II caused endothelial dysfunction and increased vascular superoxide. Likewise, we found an increase in vascular protein kinase C (PKC) activity, in the expression of nox1 (6- to 7-fold), gp91(phox) (3-fold), p22(phox) (3-fold), NOS III mRNA, and protein. NOS-inhibition with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine decreased superoxide in vessels from angiotensin II-treated animals, compatible with NOS-uncoupling. Vascular NO assessed with electron paramagnetic resonance was markedly reduced. Likewise, a decrease in sGC-expression and P-VASP levels was found. In vivo PKC-inhibition with chelerythrine reduced angiotensin II-induced superoxide production and markedly inhibited upregulation of NAD(P)H oxidase subunits. We therefore conclude that angiotensin II-induced increases in the activity and the expression of NAD(P)H oxidase are at least in part PKC-dependent. NADPH oxidase-induced superoxide production may trigger NOS III uncoupling, leading to impaired NO/cGMP signaling and to endothelial dysfunction in this animal model. The full text of this article is available at

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