Vascular NADH/NADPH Oxidase Is Involved in Enhanced Superoxide Production in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
Abstract—This study was designed to test the hypothesis that stimulation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide/nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADH/NADPH) oxidase is involved in increased vascular superoxide anion (·O2−) production in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The study was performed in 16-week-old and 30-week-old normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY16 and WKY30, respectively) and in 16-week-old and 30-week-old SHR (SHR16 and SHR30, respectively). In addition, 16-week-old SHR were treated with oral irbesartan (average dose 20 mg/kg per day) for 14 weeks (SHR30-I). Aortic NADH/NADPH oxidase activity was determined by use of chemiluminescence with lucigenin. The expression of p22phox messenger RNA was assessed by competitive reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. Vascular responses to acetylcholine were determined by isometric tension studies. Aortic wall structure was studied, determining the media thickness and the cross-sectional area by morphometric analysis. Whereas systolic blood pressure was significantly increased in the 2 groups of hypertensive animals compared with their normotensive controls, no differences were observed in systolic blood pressure between SHR30 and SHR16. No other differences in the parameters measured were found between WKY16 and SHR16. In SHR30 compared with WKY30, we found significantly greater p22phox mRNA level, NADH/NADPH-driven ·O2− production, media thickness, and cross-sectional area and an impaired vasodilation in response to acetylcholine. Treated SHR had similar NADH/NADPH oxidase activity and p22phox expression as the WKY30 group. The vascular functional and morphological parameters were improved in SHR30-I. These findings suggest that an association exists between p22phox gene overexpression and NADH/NADPH overactivity in the aortas of adult SHR. Enhanced NADH/NADPH oxidase–dependent ·O2− production may contribute to endothelial dysfunction and vascular hypertrophy in this genetic model of hypertension.
- Received October 11, 1999.
- Revision received November 24, 1999.
- Accepted December 16, 1999.