Ang II has been involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) induced migration of human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) is the most common and basic pathological feature. Carbon monoxide (CO), a byproduct of heme breakdown by heme oxygenase, exerts anti-inflammatory effects in various tissues and organ systems. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects and underlying mechanisms of carbon monoxide releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2) on Ang II-induced MMP-9 expression and cell migration of HASMCs. Ang II significantly up-regulated MMP-9 expression and cell migration of HASMCs, which was inhibited by transfection with siRNA of p47 phox , Nox2, Nox4, p65, angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and pretreatment with the inhibitors of NADPH oxidase, ROS, and NF-κB. In addition, Ang II also induced NADPH oxidase/ROS generation and p47 phox translocation from the cytosol to the membrane. Moreover, Ang II-induced oxidative stress and MMP-9-dependent cell migration were inhibited by pretreatment with CORM-2. Finally, we observed that Ang II induced IL-6 release in HASMCs via AT1R, but not AT2R, which could further caused MMP-9 secretion and cell migration. Pretreatment with CORM-2 reduced Ang II-induced IL-6 release. In conclusion, CORM-2 inhibits Ang II-induced HASMCs migration through inactivation of suppression of NADPH oxidase/ROS generation, NF-κB inactivation and IL-6/MMP-9 expression. Thus, application of CO, especially CORM-2, is a potential countermeasure to reverse the pathological changes of various cardiovascular diseases. Further effects aimed at identifying novel antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances protective for heart and blood vessels that targeting CO and establishment of well-designed in vivo models properly evaluating the efficacy of these agents are needed.
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