CB1 receptor inhibition leads to decreased vascular AT1 receptor expression, inhibition of oxidative stress and improved endothelial function

Vedat Tiyerili, Sebastian Zimmer, Suzin Jung, Kerstin Wassmann, Claas P Naehle, Dieter L├╝tjohann, Andreas Zimmer, Georg Nickenig, Sven Wassmann
Basic Research in Cardiology 2010, 105 (4): 465-77
Inhibition of the cannabinoid receptor CB(1) (CB(1)-R) exerts numerous positive cardiovascular effects such as modulation of blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and serum lipid concentrations. However, direct vascular effects of CB(1)-R inhibition remain unclear. CB(1)-R expression was validated in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and aortic tissue of mice. Apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice were treated with cholesterol-rich diet and the selective CB(1)-R antagonist rimonabant or vehicle for 7 weeks. CB(1)-R inhibition had no effect on atherosclerotic plaque development, collagen content and macrophage infiltration but led to improved aortic endothelium-dependent vasodilation and decreased aortic reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and NADPH oxidase activity. Treatment of cultured VSMC with rimonabant resulted in reduced angiotensin II-mediated but not basal ROS production and NADPH oxidase activity. CB(1)-R inhibition with rimonabant and AM251 led to down-regulation of angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1-R) expression, whereas stimulation with the CB(1)-R agonist CP 55,940 resulted in AT1-R up-regulation, indicating that AT1-R expression is directly regulated by the CB(1)-R. CB(2)-R inhibition had no impact on AT1-R expression in VSMC. Consistently, CB(1)-R inhibition decreased aortic AT1-R expression in vivo. CB(1)-R inhibition leads to decreased vascular AT1-R expression, NADPH oxidase activity and ROS production in vitro and in vivo. This antioxidative effect is associated with improved endothelial function in ApoE-/- mice, indicating beneficial direct vascular effects of CB(1)-R inhibition.

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