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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;88(6):607-15. doi: 10.1139/Y10-033.

Glucose-induced endothelin-1 expression is regulated by ERK5 in the endothelial cells and retina of diabetic rats.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, London, ON N6A 5A5, Canada.

Abstract

Upregulation of endothelin 1 (ET-1) causing blood flow alteration and increased extracellular matrix production are characteristic features of diabetic angiopathy. Several glucose-induced signaling mechanisms cause ET-1 upregulation in diabetic angiopathy. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) is a member of the MAPK family, which plays a key role in cardiovascular development. ERK kinase (MEK) 5 is the specific MEK for ERK5 activation. In this study we examined the role of glucose-induced ERK5 signaling in mediating ET-1 expression in diabetic angiopathy. We investigated retinas from 1-month STZ-induced diabetic rats and human macro- and microvascular endothelial cells to study ERK5-dependent ET-1 alterations. Glucose (25 mmol/L) caused significant upregulation of ET-1 mRNA and downregulation of ERK5 and Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) after 24 h treatment in the endothelial cells. Simultaneously, phospho-ERK5 proteins were reduced. Activation of ERK5 by constitutively active MEK5 (caMEK5) upregulated KLF2 and suppressed ET-1 expression in both cell lines, whereas ERK5 siRNA transfection resulted in decreased ERK5 and KLF2 and increased ET-1 mRNA expression. In addition, caMEK5 prevented glucose-induced upregulation of ET-1. Furthermore, 1 month of diabetes caused a significant increase in retinal ET-1 mRNA and decrease in ERK5 mRNA expression. These data indicate that ERK5 signaling regulates glucose-induced ET-1 expression in diabetes. The ERK5/ET-1 pathway may provide a potential novel target for the treatment of diabetic angiopathy.

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