Downregulation of Microvascular Endothelial Type B Endothelin Receptor Is a Central Vascular Mechanism in Hypertensive Pregnancy
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related disorder characterized by hypertension with an unclear mechanism. Studies have shown endothelial dysfunction and increased endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels in hypertensive pregnancy (HTN-Preg). ET-1 activates endothelin receptor type-A in vascular smooth muscle to induce vasoconstriction, but the role of vasodilator endothelial endothelin receptor type-B (ETBR) in the changes in blood pressure (BP) and vascular function in HTN-Preg is unclear. To test whether downregulation of endothelial ETBR expression/activity plays a role in HTN-Preg, BP was measured in normal pregnancy (Norm-Preg) rats and rat model of HTN-Preg produced by reduction of uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP), and mesenteric microvessels were isolated for measuring diameter, [Ca2+]i, and endothelin receptor type-A and ETBR levels. BP, ET-1– and potassium chloride–induced vasoconstriction, and [Ca2+]i were greater in RUPP than in Norm-Preg rats. Endothelium removal or microvessel treatment with ETBR antagonist BQ-788 enhanced ET-1 vasoconstriction and [Ca2+]i in Norm-Preg, but not RUPP, suggesting reduced vasodilator ETBR in HTN-Preg. The ET-1+endothelin receptor type-A antagonist BQ-123 and the ETBR agonists sarafotoxin 6c and IRL-1620 caused less vasorelaxation and nitrate/nitrite production in RUPP than in Norm-Preg. The nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester reduced sarafotoxin 6c– and IRL-1620–induced relaxation in Norm-Preg but not in RUPP, supporting that ETBR-mediated nitric oxide pathway is compromised in RUPP. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blots, and immunohistochemistry revealed reduced endothelial ETBR expression in RUPP. Infusion of BQ-788 increased BP in Norm-Preg, and infusion of IRL-1620 reduced BP and ET-1 vasoconstriction and [Ca2+]i and enhanced ETBR-mediated vasorelaxation in RUPP. Thus, downregulation of microvascular vasodilator ETBR is a central mechanism in HTN-Preg, and increasing ETBR activity could be a target in managing preeclampsia.
- Received February 4, 2014.
- Revision received February 21, 2014.
- Accepted April 14, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.