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Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been suggested to be involved in the central regulation of autonomic function. During chronic heart failure (CHF), elevated central angiotensin II signaling contributes to the sustained increase of sympathetic outflow. This is accompanied by a downregulation of ACE2 in the brain. We hypothesized that central overexpression of ACE2 decreases sympathetic outflow and enhances baroreflex function in CHF. Transgenic mice overexpressing human ACE2 selectively in the brain (SYN-hACE2 [SA]) and wild-type littermates (WT) were used. CHF was induced by permanent coronary artery ligation. Four weeks after coronary artery ligation, both WT and SA mice exhibited a significant decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction (<40%). A slight decrease in mean arterial pressure was found only in SA mice. Compared with WT mice with CHF, brain-selective ACE2 overexpression attenuated left ventricular end-diastolic pressure; decreased urinary norepinephrine excretion; baseline renal sympathetic nerve activity (WT CHF: 71.6±7.6% max versus SA CHF: 49.3±6.1% max); and enhanced baroreflex sensitivity (maximum slope: WT sham: 1.61±0.16%/mm Hg versus SA CHF: 1.51±0.17%/mm Hg). Chronic subcutaneous blockade of mas receptor increased renal sympathetic nerve activity in SA mice with CHF (A779: 67.3±5.8% versus vehicle: 46.4±3.6% of max). An upregulation in angiotensin II type 1 receptor expression was detected in medullary nuclei in WT CHF mice, which was significantly attenuated in SA mice with CHF. These data suggest that central ACE2 overexpression exerts a potential protective effect in CHF through attenuating sympathetic outflow. The mechanism for this effect involves angiotensin (1-7) mas signaling, as well as a decrease in angiotensin II type 1 receptor signaling in the medulla.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Recognition of the dramatically expanded functional repertoire of the renin-angiotensin system now includes a role in morphogenesis of the kidney and urinary tract. On the basis of published data, the article presents formulations of mechanisms through which the system operates.
RECENT FINDINGS - Studies in humans and animals carrying defective angiotensin-related genes have provided unequivocal evidence that the renin-angiotensin system is involved in the normal development of both the kidney and the urinary tract. Angiotensin exerts its function through at least two different types of receptors, AT1 and AT2. AT1 mediates establishment of the ureteral peristaltic machinery, while AT2 mediates the early kidney and urinary tract morphogenesis. Disruption in receptor functions promotes development of congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract.
SUMMARY - Angiotensin is involved in multiple steps of normal development of the kidney and urinary tract through two types of receptors. This takes place in concert with other functionally overlapping genes.
Peptide-quantum dot conjugates have been prepared by attaching angiotensin II (Ang II) to cadmium selenide/zinc sulfide core-shell nanocrystals using an 1-[3-(Dimethyamino)propyl]-3-ethylcarbo diimide hydrochloride (EDC) coupling. These conjugates have been used to image angiotensin I-expressing Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in vitro. When CHO cells were incubated with Ang II before incubating with Ang II-conjugated quantum dots, we were able to block the binding of the dots. The Ang II-quantum dot conjugates did not bind to parental cells and showed similar staining patterns when compared with a commercially available Ang II Alexa 488 conjugate.
We examined the in vivo function of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (Agtr1) on macrophages in renal fibrosis. Fourteen days after the induction of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO), wild-type mice reconstituted with marrow lacking the Agtr1 gene (Agtr1(-/-)) developed more severe interstitial fibrosis with fewer interstitial macrophages than those in mice reconstituted with Agtr1(+/+) marrow. These differences were not observed at day 5 of UUO. The expression of profibrotic genes - including TGF-beta1, alpha1(I) collagen, and alpha1(III) collagen - was substantially higher in the obstructed kidneys of mice with Agtr1(-/-) marrow than in those with Agtr1(+/+) marrow at day 14 but not at day 5 of UUO. Mice with Agtr1(-/-) marrow were characterized by reduced numbers of peripheral-blood monocytes and macrophage progenitors in bone marrow. In vivo assays revealed a significantly impaired phagocytic capability in Agtr1(-/-) macrophages. In vivo treatment of Agtr1(+/+) mice with losartan reduced phagocytic capability of Agtr1(+/+) macrophages to a level comparable to that of Agtr1(-/-) macrophages. Thus, during urinary tract obstruction, the Agtr1 on bone marrow-derived macrophages functions to preserve the renal parenchymal architecture, and this function depends in part on its modulatory effect on phagocytosis.
Ectopia of the initial ureter is the first ontogenic mis-step that leads to many congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT). The ectopia results in hypoplastic kidney, ectopia of the ureteral orifice, urinary outflow obstruction and/or reflux. Recent studies on several mutant mouse models verified that ectopic ureteral budding indeed occurs prior to the formation of CAKUT. Often, the genes involved in navigating the site of ureteral budding also regulate later ontogenic processes of the kidney and other urinary tract systems. These additional functions of the genes underlie the wide spectrum of CAKUT, as the genes are expressed at multiple sites at multiple ontogenic stages, and regulate the morphogenesis of the many portions of the excretory system through their distinctive cellular functions.
Hypertension caused by angiotensin II is dependent on vascular superoxide (O2*-) production. The nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAD[P]H) oxidase is a major source of vascular O2*- and is activated by angiotensin II in vitro. However, its role in angiotensin II-induced hypertension in vivo is less clear. In the present studies, we used mice deficient in p47(phox), a cytosolic subunit of the NADPH oxidase, to study the role of this enzyme system in vivo. In vivo, angiotensin II infusion (0.7 mg/kg per day for 7 days) increased systolic blood pressure from 105+/-2 to 151+/-6 mm Hg and increased vascular O2*- formation 2- to 3-fold in wild-type (WT) mice. In contrast, in p47(phox-/-) mice the hypertensive response to angiotensin II infusion (122+/-4 mm Hg; P<0.05) was markedly blunted, and there was no increase of vascular O2*- production. In situ staining for O2*- using dihydroethidium revealed a marked increase of O2*-production in both endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells of angiotensin II-treated WT mice, but not in those of p47(phox-/-) mice. To directly examine the role of the NAD(P)H oxidase in endothelial production of O2*-, endothelial cells from WT and p47(phox-/-) mice were cultured. Western blotting confirmed the absence of p47(phox) in p47(phox-/-) mice. Angiotensin II increased O2*- production in endothelial cells from WT mice, but not in those from p47(phox-/-) mice, as determined by electron spin resonance spectroscopy. These results suggest a pivotal role of the NAD(P)H oxidase and its subunit p47(phox) in the vascular oxidant stress and the blood pressure response to angiotensin II in vivo.
Ectopic budding of the ureter from the Wolffian duct is the first ontogenic misstep that leads to many-if not all-congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT). The ectopia results in hypoplastic kidney, ectopia of ureterovesical orifice, urinary outflow obstruction and/or reflux. Studies in several mutant mouse models have verified that ectopic ureteric budding indeed precedes formation of CAKUT. Often, the genes involved in navigating ureteric budding to the correct site also regulate later ontogenic events of the kidney and urinary tract. The wide spectrum of CAKUT, for example, multicystic dysplastic kidney, megaureter and atretic ureter, portray the additional important functions of these same genes that are activated at multiple sites and stages during the normal morphogenesis of the kidney and urinary tract
In vascular smooth muscle cells, angiotensin II (AngII) stimulates association of its G protein-coupled AngII type 1 (AT(1)) receptor with Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), resulting in the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription proteins. Although the association and activation of subsequent signal transducer and activator of transcription proteins appear to prerequire JAK2 activation, the signaling mechanism by which the AT(1) receptor activates JAK2 remains uncertain. Here, we have examined the signaling mechanism required for JAK2 activation by AngII in vascular smooth muscle cells. We found that AngII, through the AT(1) receptor, rapidly stimulated JAK2 phosphorylation at Tyr(1007/1008), the critical sites for the kinase activation. By using selective agonists and inhibitors, we demonstrated that PLC and its derived signaling molecules, phosphatidylinositol triphosphate/Ca(2+) and diacylglycerol/PKC, were essential for AngII-induced JAK2 phosphorylation. The PKC isoform required for JAK2 activation appears to be PKCdelta since a selective PKCdelta but not PKCalpha/beta inhibitor and dominant-negative PKCdelta overexpression inhibited JAK2 activation. We further examined a link between JAK2 and a Ca(2+)/PKC-sensitive tyrosine kinase, PYK2. We found that PYK2 activation by AngII requires PKCdelta, and that PYK2 associates with JAK2 constitutively. Moreover, transfection of two distinct PYK2 dominant-negative mutants markedly inhibited AngII-induced JAK2 activation. From these data we conclude that AT(1)-derived signaling molecules, specifically Ca(2+) and PKCdelta, participate in AngII-induced JAK2 activation through PYK2. These data provide a new mechanistic insight by which the hormone AngII exerts its cytokine-like actions in mediating vascular remodeling.
BACKGROUND - The roles of angiotensin II (Ang II) in the regulation of heart function under normal and pathological conditions have been well documented. Although 2 types of Ang II receptor (AT(1) and AT(2)) are found in various proportions, most studies have focused on AT(1)-coupled events. In the present study, we examined the hypothesis that signaling by AT(2) is important to the development of left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis by Ang II infusion in mice lacking the AT(2) gene (Agtr2-/Y).
METHODS AND RESULTS - Male Agtr2-/Y and age-matched wild-type (WT) mice were treated long-term with Ang II, infused at a rate of 4.2 ng. kg(-1). min(-1) for 3 weeks. Ang II elevated systolic blood pressure to comparable levels in Agtr2-/Y and WT mice. WT mice developed prominent concentric cardiac hypertrophy, prominent fibrosis, and impaired diastolic relaxation after Ang II infusion. In contrast, there was no cardiac hypertrophy in Agtr2-/Y mice. Agtr2-/Y mice, however, did not show signs of heart failure or impairment of ventricular relaxation and only negligible fibrosis after Ang II infusion. The absence of fibrosis may be a clue to the absence of impairment in ventricular relaxation and account for the normal left ventricular systolic and diastolic performances in Agtr2-/Y mice.
CONCLUSIONS - Chronic loss of AT(2) by gene targeting abolished left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis in mice with Ang II-induced hypertension.