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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2003 Sep;285(3):H1105-12. Epub 2003 May 22.

Angiotensin II modulates nitric oxide-induced cardiac fibroblast apoptosis by activation of AKT/PKB.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Previously we found that interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta)-activated inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase (iNOS) expression and that NO production can trigger cardiac fibroblast (CFb) apoptosis. Here, we provide evidence that angiotensin II (ANG II) significantly attenuated IL-1beta-induced iNOS expression and NO production in CFbs while simultaneously decreasing apoptotic frequency. The anti-apoptotic effect of ANG II was abolished when cells were pretreated with the specific ANG II type 1 receptor (AT1) antagonist losartan, but not by the AT2 antagonist DP-123319. Furthermore, ANG II also protected CFbs from apoptosis induced by the NO donor diethylenetriamine NONOate and this effect was associated with phosphorylation of Akt/protein kinase B at Ser473. The effects of ANG II on Akt phosphorylation and NO donor-induced CFb apoptosis were abrogated when cells were preincubated with the specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors wortmannin or LY-294002. These data demonstrate that ANG II protection of CFbs from IL-1beta-induced apoptosis is associated with downregulation of iNOS expression and requires an intact phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt survival signal pathway. The findings suggest that ANG II and NO may play a role in regulating the cell population size by their countervailing influences on cardiac fibroblast viability.

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