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Mol Pharmacol. 2003 Feb;63(2):325-31.

Akt-dependent phosphorylation of serine 1179 and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 cooperatively mediate activation of the endothelial nitric-oxide synthase by hydrogen peroxide.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Hydrogen peroxide mediates vasodilation, but the mechanisms responsible for this process remain undefined. We examined the effect of H(2)O(2) on nitric oxide (NO*) production and the signaling events involved. NO* release from bovine aortic endothelial cells was detected with an NO*-specific microelectrode. The addition of H(2)O(2) caused a potent dose-dependent increase in NO* production. This was partially Ca(2+)-dependent because BAPTA/AM reduced NO* production at low (<50 microM) but not high (>100 microM) concentrations of H(2)O(2). Phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibition [with wortmannin or 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-1(4H)-benzopyran-4-one hydrochloride], infection with a dominant-negative mutant of Akt, or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (MEK/ERK1/2) inhibition (with PD98059 or U0126) partially attenuated, whereas inhibition of both PI 3-kinase and MEK1/2 abolished H(2)O(2)-dependent NO* production. ERK1/2 seemed necessary for NO* production early (<5 min) after H(2)O(2) addition, whereas PI 3-kinase/Akt was more important at later time points. Phosphorylation of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) at serine 1179 was observed >10 min after the addition of H(2)O(2), and this was prevented by wortmannin but not by PD98059. c-Src family tyrosine kinase(s) was found to be upstream of H(2)O(2)-dependent Akt and eNOS serine 1179 phosphorylation and subsequent NO* production. In summary, H(2)O(2) causes endothelial NO* release mediated by cooperative effects between PI 3-kinase/Akt-dependent eNOS serine 1179 phosphorylation and activation of MEK/ERK1/2. This may represent an acute cellular adaptation to an increase in oxidant stress.

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