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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Mar;294(3):H1258-65. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01014.2007. Epub 2008 Jan 4.

Effect of dietary sodium on vasoconstriction and eNOS-mediated vascular relaxation in caveolin-1-deficient mice.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Endocrine Section, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Changes in dietary sodium intake are associated with changes in vascular volume and reactivity that may be mediated, in part, by alterations in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity. Caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a transmembrane anchoring protein in the plasma membrane caveolae, binds eNOS and limits its translocation and activation. To test the hypothesis that endothelial Cav-1 participates in the dietary sodium-mediated effects on vascular function, we assessed vascular responses and nitric oxide (NO)-mediated mechanisms of vascular relaxation in Cav-1 knockout mice (Cav-1-/-) and wild-type control mice (WT; Cav-1+/+) placed on a high-salt (HS; 4% NaCl) or low-salt (LS; 0.08% NaCl) diet for 16 days. After the systolic blood pressure was measured, the thoracic aorta was isolated for measurement of vascular reactivity and NO production, and the heart was used for measurement of eNOS expression and/or activity. The blood pressure was elevated in HS mice treated with NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester and more so in Cav-1-/- than WT mice and was significantly reduced during the LS diet. Phenylephrine caused vascular contraction that was significantly reduced in Cav-1-/- (maximum 0.25 +/- 0.06 g/mg) compared with WT (0.75 +/- 0.22 g/mg) on the HS diet, and the differences were eliminated with the LS diet. Also, vascular contraction in response to membrane depolarization by high KCl (96 mM) was reduced in Cav-1-/- (0.27 +/- 0.05 g/mg) compared with WT mice (0.53 +/- 0.12 g/mg) on the HS diet, suggesting that the reduced vascular contraction is not limited to a particular receptor. Acetylcholine (10(-5) M) caused aortic relaxation in WT mice on HS (23.6 +/- 3.5%) and LS (23.7 +/- 5.5%) that was enhanced in Cav-1-/- HS (72.6 +/- 6.1%) and more so in Cav-1-/- LS mice (93.6 +/- 3.5%). RT-PCR analysis indicated increased eNOS mRNA expression in the aorta and heart, and Western blots indicated increased total eNOS and phosphorylated eNOS in the heart of Cav-1-/- compared with WT mice on the HS diet, and the genotypic differences were less apparent during the LS diet. Thus Cav-1 deficiency during the HS diet is associated with decreased vasoconstriction, increased vascular relaxation, and increased eNOS expression and activity, and these effects are altered during the LS diet. The data support the hypothesis that endothelial Cav-1, likely through an effect on eNOS activity, plays a prominent role in the regulation of vascular function during substantial changes in dietary sodium intake.

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