Evidence for direct local effect of angiotensin in vascular hypertrophy. In vivo gene transfer of angiotensin converting enzyme.
In vitro studies have demonstrated that angiotensin (Ang) II directly stimulates vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) growth. However, it is still unclear if Ang II exerts a direct effect on vascular hypertrophy in vivo independent of its effect on blood pressure. In vivo gene transfer provides the opportunity to assess the effects of increased activity of the vascular angiotensin system in the intact animal while avoiding an increase in circulating angiotensin or in blood pressure. Accordingly, we transfected the human angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) vector into intact rat carotid arteries by the hemagglutinating virus of Japan-liposome method. 3 d after transfection, we detected increased ACE activity in the transfected artery. Immunohistochemistry localized immunoreactive ACE in the medial VSMC as well as in the intimal endothelial cells. The increase in vascular ACE activity was associated with a parallel increase in DNA synthesis as assessed by BrdU (bromo-deoxyuridine) index and vascular DNA content. This increase in DNA synthesis was abolished by the in vivo administration of an Ang II receptor-specific antagonist (DuP 753). Morphometry at 2 wk after transfection revealed an increase in the wall to lumen ratio of the ACE-transfected blood vessel as compared with control vector transfected vessels. This was accompanied by increases in protein and DNA contents without an increase in cell number. Local transfection of ACE vector did not result in systemic effects such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, or serum ACE activity. These morphological changes were abolished by the administration of the Ang II receptor antagonist. In this study, we used in vivo gene transfer to increase local expression of vascular angiotensin converting enzyme and provided proof that increased autocrine/paracrine angiotensin can directly cause vascular hypertrophy independent of systemic factors and hemodynamic effects. This approach has important potentials for defining the role of autocrine/paracrine substances in vascular biology and hypertension.
Morishita, R; Gibbons, GH; Ellison, KE; Lee, W; Zhang, L; Yu, H; Kaneda, Y; Ogihara, T; Dzau, VJ
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