Role of Reactive Oxygen Species-Sensitive Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Pathway in Angiotensin II-Induced Endothelin-1 Gene Expression in Vascular Endothelial Cells

Yung Ho Hsu, Jin Jer Chen, Nen Chung Chang, Cheng Hsien Chen, Ju Chi Liu, Tso Hsiao Chen, Cherng Jye Jeng, Hung Hsing Chao, Tzu-Hurng Cheng

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Background: Circulating angiotensin II (Ang II) increases vascular endothelin-1 (ET-1) tissue levels, which in turn mediate a major part of Ang II-stimulated vascular growth and hypertension in vivo. Ang II also stimulates the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within vascular endothelial cells. However, whether ROS are involved in Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression, and the related intracellular mechanisms occurring within vascular endothelial cells remain unclear. Methods: Cultured endothelial cells were stimulated with Ang II, and the thus elicited ET-1 gene expression was examined by Northern blotting and a promoter activity assay. Antioxidant pretreatment of endothelial cells was performed prior to Ang II-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation in order to elucidate the redox-sensitive pathway for ET-1 gene expression. Results: The ET-1 gene was induced with Ang II, which was inhibited with Ang II type 1 receptor antagonist (irbesartan). Ang II-enhanced intracellular ROS levels were inhibited by irbesartan and several antioxidants, and antioxidants also suppressed Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression. Further, Ang II-activated ERK phosphorylation was also significantly inhibited by certain antioxidants. An ERK inhibitor, U0126, inhibited Ang II-induced ET-1 expression completely. Cotransfection of the dominant negative mutant of Ras, Raf and MEK1 (ERK kinase) attenuated the Ang II-enhanced ET-1 promoter activity, suggesting that the Ras/Raf/ERK pathway is required for Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression. Ang II-induced activator protein-1 (AP-1) reporter activities were inhibited by antioxidants. Moreover, mutational analysis of the ET-1 gene promoter showed that the AP-1 binding site was an important cis element in Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression. Conclusions: Our data suggest that ROS are involved in Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression within endothelial cells. The redox-sensitive ERK-mediated AP-1 transcriptional pathway plays an important role in Ang II-induced ET-1 gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004



  • Angiotensin II
  • Endothelial cells
  • Endothelin-1
  • Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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