Inhibition of the AMP-Activated Protein Kinase-α2 Accentuates Agonist-Induced Vascular Smooth Muscle Contraction and High Blood Pressure in Mice
The aim of the present study was to determine the effects and molecular mechanisms by which AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates smooth muscle contraction and blood pressure in mice. In cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells, we observed that activation of AMPK by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-β-d-ribofuranoside inhibited agonist-induced phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC) and myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1). Conversely, AMPK inhibition with pharmacological or genetic means potentiated agonist-induced the phosphorylation of MLC and MYPT1, whereas it inhibited both Ras homolog gene family member A and Rho-associated kinase activity. In addition, AMPK activation or Rho-associated kinase inhibition with Y27632 abolished agonist-induced phosphorylation of MLC and MYPT1. Gene silencing of p190-guanosine triphosphatase-activating protein abolished the effects of AMPK activation on MLC, MYPT1, and Ras homolog gene family member A in human smooth muscle cells. Ex vivo analyses revealed that agonist-induced contractions of the mesenteric artery and aortas were stronger in both AMPKα1−/− and AMPKα2−/− knockout mice than in wild-type mice. Inhibition of Rho-associated kinase with Y27632 normalized agonist-induced contractions of AMPKα1−/− and AMPKα2−/− vessels. AMPKα2−/− mice had higher blood pressure along with decreased serine phosphorylation of p190-guanosine triphosphatase–activating protein. Finally, inhibition of the Ras homolog gene family member A/Rho-associated kinase pathway with Y27632, which suppressed MYPT1 and MLC phosphorylation, lowered blood pressure in AMPKα2−/− mice. In conclusion, AMPK decreases vascular smooth muscle cell contractility by inhibiting p190-GTP-activating protein–dependent Ras homolog gene family member A activation, indicating that AMPK may be a new therapeutic target in lowering high blood pressure.
- Received December 22, 2010.
- Revision received January 19, 2011.
- Accepted March 14, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.