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      Role of ROCK upregulation in endothelial and smooth muscle vascular functions in diabetic rat aorta

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          The RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway mediates vascular smooth muscle contraction while endogenous NO induces vasodilation through its inhibition. Since myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) and eNOS are targeted by RhoA/ROCK upregulation then turn to lead abnormalities in vasculature, we aimed to examine whether less endothelial NO-production and inhibited eNOS together with an upregulation of RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway in thoracic aorta can play an important role in vascular dysfunction under hyperglycemia.


          We used streptozotocin-injected rats, as a model of type 1 diabetes, and their lean controls to investigate the role of ROCK upregulation in the function of toracic aorta by using electrophysiological and biochemical techniques.


          The protein level of ROCK isoform ROCK2 was found to be 2.5-fold higher in endothelium-intact aortic rings of the diabetic rats compared to those of the controls while its level in endothelium-denuded rings was similar among these two groups. Phosphorylation level of eNOS in endothelium-intact rings from the diabetics was 50% less compared to that of the control. ROCK inhibitors, either Y27632 or HA1077, induced concentration-dependent relaxation with a marked left-shift in phenylephrine pre-contracted endothelium-intact rings from either diabetics or high glucose incubated controls while pretreatment of these rings with L-NAME abolished this shift, fully. Moreover, phosphorylation levels of both MLCP and MLC in endothelium-denuded rings were markedly higher in the diabetics than the controls.


          We demonstrated that diabetes-induced vascular dysfunction can arise due to either inbition of eNOS, thereby less endothelial NO-production, either directly or indirectly, in part, due to an upregulation of ROCK2 by hyperglycemia. Additionally, our data demonstrate that high phosphorylation levels of both MLC and MLCP in endothelium-denuded rings can be due to a less endothelial NO-production dependent ROCK upregulation in the smooth muscle cells under hyperglycemia, as well.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Ca2+ sensitivity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin II: modulated by G proteins, kinases, and myosin phosphatase.

          Ca2+ sensitivity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin II reflects the ratio of activities of myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK) to myosin light-chain phosphatase (MLCP) and is a major, regulated determinant of numerous cellular processes. We conclude that the majority of phenotypes attributed to the monomeric G protein RhoA and mediated by its effector, Rho-kinase (ROK), reflect Ca2+ sensitization: inhibition of myosin II dephosphorylation in the presence of basal (Ca2+ dependent or independent) or increased MLCK activity. We outline the pathway from receptors through trimeric G proteins (Galphaq, Galpha12, Galpha13) to activation, by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), from GDP. RhoA. GDI to GTP. RhoA and hence to ROK through a mechanism involving association of GEF, RhoA, and ROK in multimolecular complexes at the lipid cell membrane. Specific domains of GEFs interact with trimeric G proteins, and some GEFs are activated by Tyr kinases whose inhibition can inhibit Rho signaling. Inhibition of MLCP, directly by ROK or by phosphorylation of the phosphatase inhibitor CPI-17, increases phosphorylation of the myosin II regulatory light chain and thus the activity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle actomyosin ATPase and motility. We summarize relevant effects of p21-activated kinase, LIM-kinase, and focal adhesion kinase. Mechanisms of Ca2+ desensitization are outlined with emphasis on the antagonism between cGMP-activated kinase and the RhoA/ROK pathway. We suggest that the RhoA/ROK pathway is constitutively active in a number of organs under physiological conditions; its aberrations play major roles in several disease states, particularly impacting on Ca2+ sensitization of smooth muscle in hypertension and possibly asthma and on cancer neoangiogenesis and cancer progression. It is a potentially important therapeutic target and a subject for translational research.
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            Post-transcriptional regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase mRNA stability by Rho GTPase.

             U Laufs,  J. Liao (1998)
            The mechanism by which 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase inhibitors increase endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression is unknown. To determine whether changes in isoprenoid synthesis affects eNOS expression, human endothelial cells were treated with the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, mevastatin (1-10 microM), in the presence of L-mevalonate (200 microM), geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP, 1-10 microM), farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP, 5-10 microM), or low density lipoprotein (LDL, 1 mg/ml). Mevastatin increased eNOS mRNA and protein levels by 305 +/- 15% and 180 +/- 11%, respectively. Co-treatment with L-mevalonate or GGPP, but not FPP or LDL, reversed mevastatin's effects. Because Rho GTPases undergo geranylgeranyl modification, we investigated whether Rho regulates eNOS expression. Immunoblot analyses and [35S]GTPgammaS-binding assays revealed that mevastatin inhibited Rho membrane translocation and GTP binding activity by 60 +/- 5% and 78 +/- 6%, both of which were reversed by co-treatment with GGPP but not FPP. Furthermore, inhibition of Rho by Clostridium botulinum C3 transferase (50 microg/ml) or by overexpression of a dominant-negative N19RhoA mutant increased eNOS expression. In contrast, activation of Rho by Escherichia coli cytotoxic necrotizing factor-1 (200 ng/ml) decreased eNOS expression. These findings indicate that Rho negatively regulates eNOS expression and that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors up-regulate eNOS expression by blocking Rho geranylgeranylation, which is necessary for its membrane-associated activity.
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              Diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors: the Framingham study.

              The impact of cardiovascular disease was compared in non-diabetics and diabetics in the Framingham cohort. In the first 20 years of the study about 6% of the women and 8% of the men were diagnosed as diabetics. The incidence of cardiovascular disease among diabetic men was twice that among non-diabetic men. Among diabetic women the incidence of cardiovascular disease was three times that among non-diabetic women. Judging from a comparison of standardized coefficients for the regression of incidence of cardiovascular disease on specified risk factors, there is no indication that the relationship of risk factors to the subsequent development of cardiovascular disease is different for diabetics and non-diabetics. This study suggests that the role of diabetes as a cardiovascular risk factor does not derive from an altered ability to contend with known risk factors.

                Author and article information

                Cardiovasc Diabetol
                Cardiovasc Diabetol
                Cardiovascular Diabetology
                BioMed Central
                27 March 2013
                : 12
                : 51
                [1 ]Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara University, Ankara, 06100, Turkey
                Copyright © 2013 Cicek et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Investigation

                Endocrinology & Diabetes

                rock pathway, vessel function, nitric oxide, diabetes, enos


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