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- PublicationEndothelium-dependent and -independent relaxation and VASP serines 157/239 phosphorylation by cyclic nucleotide-elevating vasodilators in rat aortaEndothelium-dependent vasodilation is thought to be mediated primarily by the NO/cGMP signaling pathway whereas cAMP-elevating vasodilators are considered to act independent of the endothelial cell layer. However, recent functional data suggest that cAMP-elevating vasodilators such as β-receptor agonists, adenosine or forskolin may also be endothelium-dependent. Here we used functional and biochemical assays to analyze endothelium-dependent, cGMP- and cAMP-mediated signaling in rat aorta. Acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) induced a concentration-dependent relaxation of phenylephrine-precontracted aorta. This response was reflected by the phosphorylation of the vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a validated substrate of cGMP- and cAMP-dependent protein kinases (cGK, cAK), on Ser157 and Ser239. As expected, the effects of acetylcholine were endothelium-dependent. However, relaxation induced by the β-receptor agonist isoproterenol was also almost completely impaired after endothelial denudation. At the biochemical level, acetylcholine- and isoproterenol-evoked cGK and cAK activation, respectively, as measured by VASP Ser239 and Ser157 phosphorylation, was strongly diminished. Furthermore, the effects of isoproterenol were repressed by eNOS inhibition when endothelium was present. We also observed that the relaxing and biochemical effects of forskolin were at least partially endothelium-dependent. We conclude that cAMP-elevating vasodilators, i.e. isoproterenol and to a lesser extent also forskolin, induce vasodilation and concomitant cyclic nucleotide protein kinase activation in the vessel wall in an endothelium-dependent way.
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