Angiotensin-converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) is a pivotal component of the renin-angiotensin system, promoting the conversion of angiotensin II (Ang-II) to Ang-(1-7). We previously reported that decreased ACE2 expression and activity contributes to the development of Ang-II-mediated hypertension in mice. The present study aimed to investigate the mechanisms involved in ACE2 downregulation during neurogenic hypertension. In ACE2-transfected Neuro-2A cells, Ang-II treatment resulted in a significant attenuation of ACE2 enzymatic activity. Examination of the subcellular localization of ACE2 revealed that Ang-II treatment leads to ACE2 internalization and degradation into lysosomes. These effects were prevented by both the Ang-II type 1 receptor (AT1R) blocker losartan and the lysosomal inhibitor leupeptin. In contrast, in HEK293T cells, which lack endogenous AT1R, Ang-II failed to promote ACE2 internalization. Moreover, this effect could be induced after AT1R transfection. Furthermore, coimmunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that AT1R and ACE2 form complexes, and these interactions were decreased by Ang-II treatment, which also enhanced ACE2 ubiquitination. In contrast, ACE2 activity was not changed by transfection of AT2 or Mas receptors. In vivo, Ang-II-mediated hypertension was blunted by chronic infusion of leupeptin in wildtype C57Bl/6, but not in ACE2 knockout mice. Overall, this is the first demonstration that elevated Ang-II levels reduce ACE2 expression and activity by stimulation of lysosomal degradation through an AT1R-dependent mechanism.
Overactivity of the brain renin-angiotensin system is a major contributor to neurogenic hypertension. Although overexpression of angiotensin-converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) has been shown to be beneficial in reducing hypertension by transforming angiotensin II into angiotensin-(1-7), several groups have reported decreased brain ACE2 expression and activity during the development of hypertension.
Dysfunction of brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) components is implicated in the development of hypertension. We previously showed that angiotensin (Ang) II-induced hypertension is mediated by increased production of proinflammatory cytokines (PIC), including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), in brain cardiovascular regulatory centers such as the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Presently, we tested the hypothesis that central TNF blockade prevents dysregulation of brain RAS components and attenuates Ang II-induced hypertension. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with radio-telemetry transmitters to measure mean arterial pressure (MAP) and subjected to intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusion of etanercept (10 µg/kg/day) with/without concurrent subcutaneous 4-week Ang II (200 ng/kg/min) infusion. Chronic Ang II infusion resulted in a significant increase in MAP and cardiac hypertrophy, which was attenuated by inhibition of brain TNF with etanercept. Etanercept treatment also attenuated Ang II-induced increases in PIC and decreases in IL-10 expression in the PVN. Additionally, Ang II infusion increased expression of pro-hypertensive RAS components (ACE and AT1R), while decreasing anti-hypertensive RAS components (ACE2, Mas, and AT2 receptors), within the PVN. I.c.v. etanercept treatment reversed these changes. Ang II-infusion was associated with increased oxidative stress as indicated by increased NAD(P)H oxidase activity and super oxide production in the PVN, which was prevented by inhibition of TNF. Moreover, brain targeted TNF blockade significantly reduced Ang II-induced NOX-2 and NOX-4 mRNA and protein expression in the PVN. These findings suggest that chronic TNF blockade in the brain protects rats against Ang II-dependent hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy by restoring the balance between pro- and anti-hypertensive RAS axes and inhibiting PIC and oxidative stress genes and proteins in the PVN.
Hypertension is considered a low-grade inflammatory condition, and understanding the role of transcription factors in guiding this response is pertinent. A prominent transcription factor that governs inflammatory responses and has become a focal point in hypertensive research is nuclear factor-?B (NF?B). Within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), a known brain cardioregulatory center, NF?B becomes potentially even more important in ultimately coordinating the systemic hypertensive response. To definitively demonstrate the role of NF?B in the neurogenic hypertensive response, we hypothesized that PVN NF?B blockade would attenuate angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Twelve-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with radiotelemetry probes for blood pressure measurement and allowed a 7-day recovery. After baseline blood pressure recordings, rats were administered either continuous NF?B decoy oligodeoxynucleotide infusion or microinjection of a serine mutated adenoviral inhibitory-?B vector, or their respective controls, bilaterally into the PVN to inhibit NF?B at two levels of its activation pathway. Simultaneously, rats were implanted subcutaneously with an angiotensin II or saline-filled 14-day osmotic minipump. After the 2-week treatments, rats were euthanized and brain tissues collected for PVN analysis. Bilaterally inhibited NF?B rats had a decrease in blood pressure, NF?B p65 subunit activity, proinflammatory cytokines, and reactive oxygen species, including the angiotensin II type 1 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme, tumor necrosis factor, and superoxide in angiotensin II-treated rats. Moreover, after NF?B blockade, key protective antihypertensive renin-angiotensin system components were upregulated. This demonstrates the important role that transcription factor NF?B plays within the PVN in modulating and perpetuating the hypertensive response via renin-angiotensin system modulation.
Angiotensin II (Ang II) has been shown to have both central and peripheral effects in mediating hypertension, for which the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is an important brain cardio-regulatory centre. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been identified as a negative regulator of the pro-hypertensive actions of Ang II. Recent findings from our laboratory suggest that Ang II infusion decreases ACE2 expression in the PVN. In the present study, we hypothesized that ACE2 overexpression in the PVN will have beneficial effects in counteracting Ang II-induced hypertension.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a component of the renin-angiotensin system, and its expression and activity have been shown to be reduced in cardiovascular diseases. Enzymatic activity of ACE2 is commonly measured by hydrolysis of quenched fluorescent substrates in the absence or presence of an ACE2-specific inhibitor, such as the commercially available inhibitor DX600. Whereas recombinant human ACE2 is readily detected in mouse tissues using 1 ?M DX600 at pH 7.5, the endogenous ACE2 activity in mouse tissues is barely detectable. We compared human, mouse, and rat ACE2 overexpressed in cell lines for their sensitivity to inhibition by DX600. ACE2 from all three species could be inhibited by DX600, but the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) for human ACE2 was much lower (78-fold) than for rodent ACE2. Following optimization of pH, substrate concentration, and antagonist concentration, rat and mouse ACE2 expressed in a cell line could be accurately quantified with 10 ?M DX600 (>95% inhibition) but not with 1 ?M DX600 (<75% inhibition). Validation that the optimized method robustly quantifies ACE2 in mouse tissues (kidney, brain, heart, and plasma) was performed using wild-type and ACE2 knockout mice. This study provides a reliable method for measuring human, as well as endogenous ACE2 activity in rodents. Our data underscore the importance of validating the effect of DX600 on ACE2 from each particular species at the experimental conditions employed.
This study examined the effect of central tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) blockade on the imbalance between nitric oxide and superoxide production in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and ventrolateral medulla (VLM), key autonomic regulators, and their contribution to enhanced sympathetic drive in mice with congestive heart failure (CHF). We also used a TNF gene knockout (KO) mouse model to study the involvement of TNF in body fluid homeostasis and sympathoexcitation in CHF. After implantation of intracerebroventricular (ICV) cannulae, myocardial infarction (MI) was induced in wild-type (WT) and KO mice by coronary artery ligation. Osmotic mini-pumps were implanted into one set of WT + MI/Sham mice for continuous ICV infusion of Etanercept (ETN), a TNF receptor fusion protein, or vehicle (VEH). Gene expressions of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and angiotensin receptor-type 2 were reduced, while those of inducible NOS, Nox2 homologs, superoxide, peroxynitrite and angiotensin receptor-type 1 were elevated in the brainstem and hypothalamus of MI + VEH. Plasma norepinephrine levels and the number of Fos-positive neurons were also increased in the PVN and VLM in MI + VEH. MI + ETN and KO + MI mice exhibited reduced oxidative stress, reduced sympathoexcitation and an improved cardiac function. These changes in WT + MI were associated with increased sodium and fluid retention. These results indicate that elevated TNF in these autonomic regulatory regions of the brain alter the production of superoxide and nitric oxide, contributing to fluid imbalance and sympathoexcitation in CHF.
The last decade has seen the discovery of several new components of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Among them, angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) and the Mas receptor have forced a reevaluation of the original cascade and led to the emergence of a new arm of the RAS: the ACE2/ANG-(1-7)/Mas axis. Accordingly, the new system is now seen as a balance between a provasoconstrictor, profibrotic, progrowth axis (ACE/ANG-II/AT(1) receptor) and a provasodilatory, antifibrotic, antigrowth arm (ACE2/ANG-(1-7)/Mas receptor). Already, this simplistic vision is evolving and new components are branching out upstream [ANG-(1-12) and (pro)renin receptor] and downstream (angiotensin-IV and other angiotensin peptides) of the classical cascade. In this review, we will summarize the role of the ACE2/ANG-(1-7)/Mas receptor, focusing on the central nervous system with respect to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, chronic heart failure, and stroke, as well as neurological diseases. In addition, we will discuss the new pharmacological (antagonists, agonists, activators) and genomic (knockout and transgenic animals) tools that are currently available. Finally, we will review the latest data regarding the various signaling pathways downstream of the Mas receptor.
Reactive oxygen species and proinflammatory cytokines contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Inhibition of downstream transcription factors and gene modifiers of these components are key mediators of hypertensive response. Histone acetylases/deacetylases can modulate the gene expression of these hypertrophic and hypertensive components. Therefore, we hypothesized that long-term inhibition of histone deacetylase with valproic acid might attenuate hypertrophic and hypertensive responses by modulating reactive oxygen species and proinflammatory cytokines in SHR rats. Seven-week-old SHR and WKY rats were used in this study. Following baseline blood pressure measurement, rats were administered valproic acid in drinking water (0.71% wt/vol) or vehicle, with pressure measured weekly thereafter. Another set of rats were treated with hydralazine (25 mg/kg per day orally) to determine the pressure-independent effects of HDAC inhibition on hypertension. Following 20 weeks of treatment, heart function was measured using echocardiography, rats were euthanized, and heart tissue was collected for measurement of total reactive oxygen species, as well as proinflammatory cytokine, cardiac hypertrophic, and oxidative stress gene and protein expressions. Blood pressure, proinflammatory cytokines, hypertrophic markers, and reactive oxygen species were increased in SHR versus WKY rats. These changes were decreased in valproic acid-treated SHR rats, whereas hydralazine treatment only reduced blood pressure. These data indicate that long-term histone deacetylase inhibition, independent of the blood pressure response, reduces hypertrophic, proinflammatory, and hypertensive responses by decreasing reactive oxygen species and angiotensin II type1 receptor expression in the heart, demonstrating the importance of uncontrolled histone deacetylase activity in hypertension.
An activated vasoconstrictive, proliferative, and fibrotic axis of the renin angiotensin system (angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE]/angiotensin [Ang]II/AngII type 1 receptor) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and pulmonary hypertension (PH). The recent discovery of a counterregulatory axis of the renin angiotensin system composed of ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas has led us to examine the role of this vasoprotective axis on such disorders.
Accumulating evidence indicates a key role of inflammation in hypertension and cardiovascular disorders. However, the role of inflammatory processes in neurogenic hypertension remains to be determined. Thus, our objective in the present study was to test the hypothesis that activation of microglial cells and the generation of proinflammatory cytokines in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) contribute to neurogenic hypertension. Intracerebroventricular infusion of minocycline, an anti-inflammatory antibiotic, caused a significant attenuation of mean arterial pressure, cardiac hypertrophy, and plasma norepinephrine induced by chronic angiotensin II infusion. This was associated with decreases in the numbers of activated microglia and mRNAs for interleukin (IL) 1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and an increase in the mRNA for IL-10 in the PVN. Overexpression of IL-10 induced by recombinant adenoassociated virus-mediated gene transfer in the PVN mimicked the antihypertensive effects of minocycline. Furthermore, acute application of a proinflammatory cytokine, IL-1beta, into the left ventricle or the PVN in normal rats resulted in a significant increase in mean arterial pressure. Collectively, this indicates that angiotensin II induced hypertension involves activation of microglia and increases in proinflammatory cytokines in the PVN. These data have significant implications on the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for the control of neurogenic hypertension.
Hypertension is a well-known risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases. Recently, exercise has been recommended as a part of lifestyle modification for all hypertensive patients. However, the precise mechanisms of exercise training (ExT)-induced effects on the development of hypertension are poorly understood. Therefore, we hypothesized that chronic ExT would delay the progression of hypertension in young spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). In addition, we explored whether the beneficial effects of chronic ExT were mediated by reduced proinflammatory cytokines and improved redox status. We also investigated the involvement of nuclear factor-kappaB in exercise-induced effects. To test our hypotheses, young normotensive (Wistar-Kyoto) and SHRs were given moderate-intensity ExT for 16 weeks. Blood pressure was determined by the tail-cuff method, and cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography. Myocardial total reactive oxygen species and superoxide production were measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy; tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1beta, gp91(phox), and inducible NO synthase by real-time PCR; and nuclear factor kappaB activity by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Chronic ExT in hypertensive rats resulted in significantly reduced blood pressure, reduced concentric hypertrophy, and improved diastolic function. ExT significantly reduced proinflammatory cytokines and inducible NO synthase, attenuated total reactive oxygen species and superoxide production, and increased antioxidants in SHRs. ExT also resulted in increased NO production and decreased nuclear factor kappaB activity in SHRs. In summary, chronic ExT delays the progression of hypertension and improves cardiac function in young SHRs; these ExT-induced beneficial effects are mediated by reduced proinflammatory cytokines and improved redox homeostasis via downregulation of nuclear factor-kappaB.
Inflammatory molecules and their transcription factor, nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kappaB), are thought to play important roles in diabetes-induced cardiac dysfunction. Here, we investigated the effects of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), a NF-kappaB inhibitor, in diabetic mice.
In spite of recent advancements in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, successful control has yet to be accomplished. The abundant presence of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the lungs and its impressive effect in the prevention of acute lung injury led us to test the hypothesis that pulmonary overexpression of this enzyme could produce beneficial outcomes against pulmonary hypertension. Monocrotaline (MCT) treatment of mice for 8 weeks resulted in significant increases in right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricle:left ventricle plus septal weight ratio, and muscularization of pulmonary vessels. Administration of a lentiviral vector containing ACE2, 7 days before MCT treatment prevented the increases in right ventricular systolic pressure (control: 25+/-1 mm Hg; MCT: 44+/-5 mm Hg; MCT+ACE2: 26+/-1 mm Hg; n=6; P<0.05) and right ventricle:left ventricle plus septal weight ratio (control: 0.25+/-0.01; MCT: 0.31+/-0.01; MCT+ACE2: 0.26+/-0.01; n=8; P<0.05). A significant attenuation in muscularization of pulmonary vessels induced by MCT was also observed in animals overexpressing ACE2. These beneficial effects were associated with an increase in the angiotensin II type 2 receptor:angiotensin II type 1 receptor mRNA ratio. Also, pulmonary hypertension-induced increases in proinflammatory cytokines were significantly attenuated by lentiviral vector-containing ACE2 treatment. Furthermore, ACE2 gene transfer in mice after 6 weeks of MCT treatment resulted in a significant reversal of right ventricular systolic pressure. These observations demonstrate that ACE2 overexpression prevents and reverses right ventricular systolic pressure and associated pathophysiology in MCT-induced pulmonary hypertension by a mechanism involving a shift from the vasoconstrictive, proliferative, and fibrotic axes to the vasoprotective axis of the renin-angiotensin system and inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines.
It has been proposed that an activated renin angiotensin system (RAS) causes an imbalance between the vasoconstrictive and vasodilator mechanisms involving the pulmonary circulation leading to the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Recent studies have indicated that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a member of the vasoprotective axis of the RAS, plays a regulatory role in lung pathophysiology, including pulmonary fibrosis and acute lung disease. Based on these observations, we propose the hypothesis that activation of endogenous ACE2 can shift the balance from the vasoconstrictive, proliferative axis (ACE-Ang II-AT1R) to the vasoprotective axis [ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas] of the RAS, resulting in the prevention of PH.
Angiotensin II (ANG II)-induced inflammatory and oxidative stress responses contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension. In this study, we determined whether nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) activation in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) increases oxidative stress and contributes to the ANG II-induced hypertensive response.
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