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Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in rat kidney is localized to the macula densa and the immediately proximal cTALH and increases after salt restriction. Either ACE inhibitors or AT1 receptor blockers increase COX-2 expression in both control and salt-restricted animals, suggesting that the RAS activation feedback inhibits renal cortical COX-2 expression. To determine whether increased COX-2 expression in response to ACE inhibition mediated increases in renin production, rats were treated with Captopril for 1 week with or without the specific COX-2 inhibitor, SC58236. Plasma renin activity increased significantly in the Captopril group. This increase was partially reversed by simultaneous treatment with SC58236. Kidney renin activity also increased in the Captopril group compared with control, which was also significantly inhibited by SC58236 treatment. Because of the localization of bNOS to MD and surrounding cTALH, the current study investigated the role of NO in the regulation of COX-2 expression. Rats were fed a normal diet, low salt diet or low salt diet combined with captopril and half of them were treated with the neuronal NOS inhibitor, 7-NI, and half with vehicle. After 7 days, mRNA was extracted and the microsome proteins purified from renal cortex. COX-2 mRNA expression was measured by Northern-blot and normalized with GAPDH. 7-NI treatment decreased COX-2 mRNA and immunoreactive COX-2 expression in each group. In summary, these studies indicate that COX-2 from macula densa/cTALH is a regulator of renin production and release. Angiotensin II may be a negative regulator of cTALH/macula densa COX-2 expression, and NO may mediate increased renal cortical COX-2 expression seen in volume depletion. These studies suggest important interactions between the NO and COX-2 systems in the regulation of arteriolar tone and the renin-angiotensin system by the macula densa.
BACKGROUND - Pharmacologic inhibition of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) limits angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced vasoconstriction and cellular proliferation. There is emerging evidence that some of the beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors may be endogenously available through the angiotensin receptor type 2 (AT2).
METHODS - To evaluate whether AT2 modulates ACE activity, we used an high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-based enzymatic assay in tissues from AT2 knockout mice (Agtr2-/y) and cultured cells. These studies were complimented by physiologic studies of pharmacologic inhibition of AT2.
RESULTS - Circulating (C) and tissue ACE activities in heart (H), lung (L), and kidney (K) were doubled in Agtr2-/y mice compared with wild-type mice [162.9 +/- 17.6 mU/mL (C), 97.7 +/- 20.7 (H), 6282.1 +/- 508.3 (L), and 2295.0 +/- 87.0 (K) mU/g tissue for Agtr2-/y vs. 65.3 +/- 35.4 mU/mL (C), 44.5 +/- 8.7 (H), 3392.4 +/- 495.2 (L), and 1146.1 +/- 217.3 (K) mU/g tissue for wild-type mice, P < or = 0.05, 0.025, 0.002, and 0.0001, respectively]. Acute pharmacologic inhibition of AT2 [PD123319 (PD), 50 microg/kg/min, i. v.] significantly increased ACE activity in kidneys of wild-type mice (1591.2 +/- 104.4 vs. 1233.6 +/- 88.0 mU/g tissue in saline-infused mice, P < 0.05; P < 0.01 vs. uninfused, wild-type mice). Moreover, ACE activity increased in A10 cells exposed to PD (10-6 mol/L) together with Ang II (10-7 mol/L), but not with an AT1 antagonist (losartan, 10-6 mol/L). This heightened ACE activity appears functionally relevant because infusion of angiotensin I caused more prompt hypertension in Agtr2-/y mice than in wild-type littermates. Likewise, infusion of bradykinin, also a substrate for ACE, caused significantly less hypotension in Agtr2-/y mice than controls.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies indicate that AT2 functions to decrease ACE activity tonically, which may, in part, underlie AT2's increasingly recognized attenuation of AT1-mediated actions.
Bradykinin is a nonapeptide that contributes to the cardioprotective effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. During ACE inhibition, an increased proportion of bradykinin is degraded through non-ACE pathways. Studies in animals suggest that aminopeptidase P (EC 188.8.131.52) may contribute to the metabolism of bradykinin. The purpose of the present study was to determine the contribution of aminopeptidase P to the degradation of bradykinin in humans in the presence and absence of ACE inhibition. To do this, we measured the wheal response to intradermal injection of bradykinin (0, 1, or 10 nicrog) in the presence or absence of intradermal administration of the specific aminopeptidase P inhibitor apstatin (5 or 10 microg) and oral administration of the ACE inhibitor quinapril (10 mg) in six healthy subjects. Both bradykinin (ANOVA; F = 101.18, P <.001) and apstatin alone (F = 7.01, P =.049) caused a wheal of dose-dependent size. There was no significant interaction between apstatin and bradykinin (F = 4.94, P =.175). Pretreatment with 10 mg of quinapril significantly shifted the dose-response curve for bradykinin to the left (effect of quinapril; F = 77.96, P <.001) and there was significant interaction between quinapril and bradykinin (F = 7.82, P =.041). The effect of quinapril was significantly potentiated by coinjection of 10 microg of apstatin (effect of apstatin; F = 21.60, P =.006), such that there was significant interactive effect of quinapril and apstatin (F = 20.83, P =.006) on the wheal response to bradykinin. Collectively, these data suggest that aminopeptidase P plays a minor role in the degradation of bradykinin in human skin in the absence of ACE inhibition but contributes significantly to the degradation of bradykinin in the presence of ACE inhibition.
Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States. We undertook a study to assess the impact of assignment to different levels of blood pressure control on the course of type 1 diabetic nephropathy in patients receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy. We also examined the long-term course of this well-characterized cohort of patients receiving ACE inhibitor therapy. One hundred twenty-nine patients with type 1 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy who had previously participated in the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition in Diabetic Nephropathy Study who had a serum creatinine level less than 4.0 mg/dL were randomly assigned to a mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) goal of 92 mm Hg or less (group I) or 100 to 107 mm Hg (group II). Patients received varying doses of ramipril as the primary therapeutic antihypertensive agent. All patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Outcome measures included iothalamate clearance, 24-hour creatinine clearance, creatinine clearance estimated by the Cockcroft and Gault formula, and urinary protein excretion. The average difference in MAP between groups was 6 mm Hg over the 24-month follow-up. The median iothalamate clearance in group I was 62 mL/min/1.73 m(2) at baseline and 54 mL/min/1.73 m(2) at the end of the study compared with a baseline of 64 mL/min/1.73 m(2) and final 58 mL/min/1.73 m(2) in group II. There were no statistically significant differences in the rate of decline in renal function between groups. There was a significant difference in follow-up total urinary protein excretion between group I (535 mg/24 h) and group II (1,723 mg/24 h; P = 0.02). Thirty-two percent of 126 patients achieved a final total protein excretion less than 500 mg/24 h. Patients from groups I and II had equivalent rates of adverse events. In patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetic nephropathy, the MAP goal should be 92 mm Hg or less for optimal renoprotection, if defined as including decreased proteinuria. With the combination of ACE inhibition and intensive blood pressure control, many patients can achieve regression or apparent remission of clinical evidence of diabetic nephropathy.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition significantly decreases plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) without altering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) during activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in humans. Because ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type 1 (AT(1)) receptor antagonists differ in their effects on angiotensin II formation and bradykinin degradation, the present study compared the effect of equivalent hypotensive doses of an ACE inhibitor and AT(1) antagonist on fibrinolytic balance. Plasma PAI-1 antigen, tPA antigen, plasma renin activity, and aldosterone were measured in 25 normotensive subjects (19 white, 6 black; 14 men, 11 women; mean age 38.5+/-1.8 years; mean body mass index 25.3+/-0.7 kg/m(2)) during low salt intake alone (10 mmol Na/d), low salt intake + quinapril (40 mg PO bid), and low salt intake + losartan (50 mg PO bid). Compared with low salt alone (systolic blood pressure [BP] 118.8+/-2.2 mm Hg), both quinapril (106.3+/-2.5 mm Hg, P<0.001) and losartan (105.4+/-2. 8 mm Hg, P<0.001) reduced BP. No statistical difference was found between quinapril and losartan in their BP lowering effect. Losartan (P=0.009), but not quinapril, lowered heart rate. Both drugs significantly lowered aldosterone (P<0.001 versus low salt alone for each); however, this effect was significantly greater for quinapril than for losartan (P<0.001 for quinapril versus losartan). Treatment with quinapril, but not with losartan, was associated with a decrease in both PAI-1 antigen (P=0.03) and activity (P=0.018). PAI-1 activity was lower during treatment with quinapril than with losartan (P=0.015). The average PAI-1 antigen concentration was 13. 0+/-2.0 ng/mL during low salt alone, 10.5+/-1.6 ng/mL during quinapril treatment, and 12.3+/-2.1 ng/mL during losartan treatment. In contrast, plasma tPA antigen concentrations were reduced during treatment with losartan (P=0.03) but not with quinapril. This study provides the first evidence that ACE inhibitors and AT(1) antagonists differ in their effects on fibrinolytic balance under conditions of activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Further studies are needed to address the mechanism for the contrasting effects of these 2 classes of drugs on fibrinolysis and to define the clinical significance of these differences.
BACKGROUND - Inhibition of angiotensin action, pharmacologically or genetically, during the neonatal period leads to renal anomalies involving hypoplastic papilla and dilated calyx. Recently, we documented that angiotensinogen (Agt -/-) or angiotensin type 1 receptor nullizygotes (Agtr1 -/-) do not develop renal pelvis nor ureteral peristaltic movement, both of which are essential for isolating the kidney from the high downstream ureteral pressure. We therefore examined whether these renal anomalies could be characterized as "obstructive" nephropathy.
METHODS - Agtr1 -/- neonatal mice were compared with wild-type neonates, the latter subjected to surgical complete unilateral ureteral ligation (UUO), by analyzing morphometrical, immunohistochemical, and molecular indices. Agtr1 -/- mice were also subjected to a complete UUO and were compared with wild-type UUO mice by quantitative analysis. To assess the function of the urinary tract, baseline pelvic and ureteral pressures were measured.
RESULTS - The structural anomalies were qualitatively indistinguishable between the Agtr1 -/- without surgical obstruction versus the wild type with complete UUO. Thus, in both kidneys, the calyx was enlarged, whereas the papilla was atrophic; tubulointerstitial cells underwent proliferation and also apoptosis. Both were also characterized by interstitial macrophage infiltration and fibrosis, and within the local lesion, transforming growth factor-beta 1, platelet-derived growth factor-A and insulin-like growth factor-1 were up-regulated, whereas epidermal growth factor was down-regulated. Moreover, quantitative differences that exist between mutant kidneys without surgical obstruction and wild-type kidneys with surgical UUO were abolished when both underwent the same complete surgical UUO. The hydraulic baseline pressure was always lower in the pelvis than that in the ureter in the wild type, whereas this pressure gradient was reversed in the mutant.
CONCLUSION - The abnormal kidney structure that develops in neonates during angiotensin inhibition is attributed largely to "functional obstruction" of the urinary tract caused by the defective development of peristaltic machinery.
BACKGROUND - Over the past decade, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and ACE inhibitors have been used increasingly in the treatment of hypertension. In contrast, beta-blocker and diuretic use has decreased. It has been suggested that pharmaceutical marketing has influenced these prescribing patterns. No objective analysis of advertising for antihypertensive therapies exists, however.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We reviewed the January, April, July, and October issues of the New England Journal of Medicine from 1985 to 1996 (210 issues). The intensity of drug promotion was measured as the proportion of advertising pages used to promote a given medication. Statistical analyses used the chi2 test for trend. Advertising for CCBs increased from 4.6% of advertising pages in 1985 to 26.9% in 1996, while advertising for beta-blockers (12.4% in 1985 to 0% in 1996) and diuretics (4.2% to 0%) decreased (all P<0.0001). A nonsignificant increase was observed in advertising for ACE inhibitors (3.5% to 4.3%, P=0.17). Although the total number of drug advertising pages per issue decreased from 60 pages in 1985 to 42 pages in 1996 (P<0.001), the number of pages devoted to calcium channel blocker advertisements nearly quadrupled.
CONCLUSIONS - Increasing promotion of CCBs has mirrored trends in physician prescribing. An association between advertising and prescribing patterns could explain why CCBs have supplanted better-substantiated therapies for hypertension.
We have previously shown that in rat renal cortex, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is localized to cTALH cells in the region of the macula densa, and that dietary salt restriction increases COX-2 expression. Administration of the angiotensin converting inhibitor, captopril, further increased COX-2 mRNA and renal cortical COX-2 immunoreactivity, with the most pronounced expression in the macula densa. Administration of an AT1 receptor antagonist, losartan, also significantly increased cortical COX-2 mRNA expression and COX-2 immunoreactivity. Mutant mice homozygous for both Agtr1a and Agtr1b null mutations (Agtr1a-/-,Agtr1b-/-) demonstrated large increases in immunoreactive COX-2 expression inthe cTALH/macula densa. To determine whether increased COX-2expression in response to ACE inhibition mediated increases in renin production, rats were treated with captopril for one week with or without the specific COX-2 inhibitor, SC58236. Plasma renin activity increased significantly in the captropril group, and this increase was significantly inhibited by simultaneous treatment with SC58236. Thus, these studies indicated that angiotensin II inhibitors augment upregulation of renal cortical COX-2 in states of volume depletion, suggesting that negative feedback by the renin-angiotensin system modulates renal cortical COX-2 expression and that COX-2 is a mediator of increased renin production in response to inhibition of angiotension II production.
Increased plasma renin activity (PRA) has been associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI), whereas angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition appears to reduce the risk of recurrent MI in patients with left ventricular dysfunction. These observations may be partially explained by an interaction between the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and fibrinolytic system. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of salt depletion on tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) antigen and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) activity and antigen in normotensive subjects in the presence and absence of quinapril (40 mg BID). Under low (10 mmol/d) and high (200 mmol/d) salt conditions there was significant diurnal variation in PAI-1 antigen and activity and tPA antigen. Morning (8 AM through 2 PM) PAI-1 antigen levels were significantly higher during low salt intake compared with high salt intake conditions (ANOVA, F=5.8, P=0.048). PAI-1 antigen correlated with aldosterone (r=0.56, P<10(-7)) during low salt intake. ACE inhibition significantly decreased 24-hour (ANOVA for 24 hours, F=6. 7, P=0.04) and morning (F=24, P=0.002) PAI-1 antigen and PAI-1 activity (F=6.48, P=0.038) but did not alter tPA antigen. Thus, the mean morning PAI-1 antigen concentration was significantly higher during low salt intake than during either high salt intake or low salt intake and concomitant ACE inhibition (22.7+/-4.6 versus 16. 1+/-3.3 and 16.3+/-3.7 ng/mL, respectively; P<0.05). This study provides evidence of a direct functional link between the RAS and fibrinolytic system in humans. The data suggest that ACE inhibition has the potential to reduce the incidence of thrombotic cardiovascular events by blunting the morning peak in PAI-1.
BACKGROUND - Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors not only decrease the production of angiotensin II but also decrease the degradation of bradykinin. In this study, a specific bradykinin-receptor antagonist, icatibant acetate (HOE 140), was used to determine the contribution of bradykinin to the short-term effects of ACE inhibition on blood pressure and plasma renin activity in both normotensive and hypertensive subjects.
METHODS - We compared the hemodynamic, renal, and endocrine effects of captopril alone (25 mg), captopril plus icatibant (100 microg per kilogram of body weight), the angiotensin II subtype 1-receptor antagonist losartan (75 mg), and placebo in 20 subjects with normal blood pressure and 7 subjects with hypertension. The subjects were studied while they were salt depleted (i.e., in balance on a diet in which they were allowed 10 mmol of sodium per day). The drugs were administered on four separate study days in a single-blind, randomized fashion.
RESULTS - The coadministration of icatibant significantly attenuated the hypotensive effect of captopril (maximal decrease in mean arterial pressure for all subjects combined, 10.5+/-1.0 mm Hg, as compared with 14.0+/-1.0 mm Hg for captopril alone; P=0.001), in such a way that the decrease in blood pressure after the administration of captopril plus icatibant was similar to that after the administration of losartan (maximal decrease in mean arterial pressure, 11.0+/-1.7 mm Hg). Icatibant did not alter the renal hemodynamic response to captopril, but it significantly altered the change in plasma renin activity in response to ACE inhibition (-0.4+/-0.4 ng of angiotensin I per milliliter per hour, as compared with 2.0+/-0.7 ng per milliliter per hour for captopril alone; P=0.007). The magnitude of these effects was similar in both the normotensive and the hypertensive subjects, as well as in both the black subjects and the white subjects.
CONCLUSIONS - These data confirm that bradykinin contributes to the short-term effects of ACE inhibition on blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive persons and suggest that bradykinin also contributes to the short-term effects of ACE inhibition on the renin-angiotensin system.