Role of protein kinase C in the expression of endothelin converting enzyme-1.
Increased expression of endothelin converting enzyme-1 (ECE-1) is associated with diabetic nephropathy. The molecular mechanisms underlying this association, as yet unknown, possibly involve protein kinase C (PKC) pathways. In the present study, we examined the effects of high glucose and PKC activation on ECE-1 expression in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and in HUVEC line (EA.hy926). Increasing glucose concentration, but not mannitol, from 5.5-22.2 mmol/liter for 3 d, enhanced prepro endothelin-1 (ET-1) mRNA expression, ET-1 levels, ECE-1 protein, and mRNA expressions by 7, 4, 20, and 2.6-fold, respectively. High glucose increased ECE-1 protein expression dose and time dependently. By Western blot analysis, PKC-beta1, -beta2, and -delta isoform levels were significantly increased relative to other isoforms when glucose level was increased. Treatment with Rottlerin, a PKC-delta isoform inhibitor, reduced significantly the glucose-induced ET-1 secretion, and ECE-1 protein expression, but (S)-13-[(dimethylamino)methyl]-10,11,14,15-tetrahydro-4,9:16,21-dimetheno 1H,1(3)H-dibenzo[e,k]pyrrolo[3,4-h] (1, 4, 3) oxadiaza-cyclohexadecene-1,3(2H)-dione or Gö6976, specific PKC-beta and -alpha inhibitors, respectively, did not. Overexpression of PKC-delta but not PKC-alpha or -beta1 isoforms by adenovirus vector containing the respective cDNA in HUVECs incubated with 5.5 mmol/liter glucose, increased in parallel PKC proteins, and glucose-induced endothein-1 and ECE-1 protein expression by 4- to 6-fold. These results show that enhanced ECE-1 expression induced by hyperglycemia is partly due to activation of the PKC-delta isoform. Thus, inhibition of this PKC isoform may prevent diabetes-related increase in ET-1.