Pioglitazone treatment increases COX-2-derived prostacyclin production and reduces oxidative stress in hypertensive rats: role in vascular function


Dr María J Alonso, Departamento de Bioquímica, Fisiología y Genética Molecular, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Avda. de Atenas s/n, 28922 Alcorcón, Spain. E-mail: mariajesus.alonso@urjc.es


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE PPARγ agonists, glitazones, have cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory actions associated with gene transcription interference. In this study, we determined whether chronic treatment of adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) with pioglitazone alters BP and vascular structure and function, and the possible mechanisms involved.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Mesenteric resistance arteries from untreated or pioglitazone-treated (2.5 mg·kg−1·day−1, 28 days) SHR and normotensive [Wistar Kyoto (WKY)] rats were used. Vascular structure was studied by pressure myography, vascular function by wire myography, protein expression by Western blot and immunohistochemistry, mRNA levels by RT-PCR, prostanoid levels by commercial kits and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by dihydroethidium-emitted fluorescence.

KEY RESULTS In SHR, pioglitazone did not modify either BP or vascular structural and mechanical alterations or phenylephrine-induced contraction, but it increased vascular COX-2 levels, prostacyclin (PGI2) production and the inhibitory effects of NS 398, SQ 29,548 and tranylcypromine on phenylephrine responses. The contractile phase of the iloprost response, which was reduced by SQ 29,548, was greater in pioglitazone-treated and pioglitazone-untreated SHR than WKY. In addition, pioglitazone abolished the increased vascular ROS production, NOX-1 levels and the inhibitory effect of apocynin and allopurinol on phenylephrine contraction, whereas it did not modify eNOS expression but restored the potentiating effect of N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester on phenylephrine responses.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Although pioglitazone did not reduce BP in SHR, it increased COX-2-derived PGI2 production, reduced oxidative stress, and increased NO bioavailability, which are all involved in vasoconstrictor responses in resistance arteries. These effects would contribute to the cardioprotective effect of glitazones reported in several pathologies.