Suppressed G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 activity protects female diabetic-mouse aorta against endothelial dysfunction

K Taguchi, T Matsumoto, K Kamata, T Kobayashi
Acta Physiologica 2013, 207 (1): 142-55

AIM: Pre-menopausal women have less cardiovascular disease and lower cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than men the same age. Previously, we noted in mice that G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) negatively regulates the Akt/eNOS pathway in male diabetic aortas and that endothelial function via the Akt/eNOS pathway is less affected in female diabetic aortas. The cellular mechanisms underlying these sex differences remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the ways in which GRK2 might modulate vascular functions in male and female diabetic mice (DM).

METHODS: Vascular functions were examined in aortic rings. GRK2, β-arrestin 2 and Akt/eNOS-signalling-pathway protein levels and activities were assayed by Western blotting.

RESULTS: Phenylephrine-induced contraction was greater, while both clonidine-induced and insulin-induced relaxations were weaker (vs. male controls), in aortas from male type 2 DM, suggesting impairments of the Akt/eNOS pathway and α-adrenoceptor function. GRK2-inhibitor reversed only the impairment in Akt/eNOS-pathway-mediated relaxation in male DM. Increases in GRK2 activity, GRK2 expression in the membrane, plasma Ang II and systolic blood pressure were seen in male DM (vs. male controls) but not in female DM; these increases were attenuated by GRK2-inhibitor treatment. Repeatedly obtaining clonidine concentration-response curves led to reduced relaxation in male and in female DM aortas, indicating similar desensitization between female DM and male DM. This effect was reversed by GRK2-inhibitor in both sexes.

CONCLUSION: GRK2 plays a key role in modulating the aortic vasodilator effect of clonidine by selectively affecting the Akt/eNOS pathway. This action of GRK2 is more powerful in male than in female DM.

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