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Cardiovasc Res. 1999 Mar;41(3):654-62.

Reactive oxygen species modulate endothelin-I-induced c-fos gene expression in cardiomyocytes.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.



Recent evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species (ROS) may act as second messengers in receptor-mediated signaling pathways. The possible role of ROS during Et-1 stimulation in cardiomyocytes was therefore investigated.


Intracellular ROS levels were measured with fluorescence probe 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate by confocal microscopy in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. The ROS-inducible c-fos expression was analyzed by Northern blotting and promoter activity.


Et-1 applied to cardiomyocytes dose-dependently increased intracellular ROS levels. The increase of ROS levels was attenuated by pretreating cardiomyocytes with Et-A receptor antagonist-BQ485, but not with Et-B receptor antagonist. Cardiomyocytes pretreated with catalase or an antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduced Et-1-induced ROS levels. Et-1 or H2O2 treatment of cardiomyocytes rapidly induced the expression of an immediate early gene c-fos. Et-1-treated cardiomyocytes enhanced the c-fos gene expression as revealed by functional analysis using a reporter gene construct containing c-fos promoter region (-2.25 kb) and reporter gene chloramphenicol acetyltransferase. The induction of mRNA levels and the promoter activities of c-fos gene by Et-1 or H2O2 were abolished by pretreating cardiomyocytes with catalase or NAC. Cells transiently transfected with the dominant positive mutant of p21ras (RasL61) led to a significant increase in intracellular ROS. Concomitantly, the mRNA levels and the promoter activities of c-fos were also induced. In contrast, cells transfected with the dominant negative mutant of Ras (RasN17) inhibited Et-1-induced ROS. Consistently, the increase of c-fos mRNA levels and promoter activities by Et-1 were also inhibited.


These findings clearly indicate that Et-1 treatment to cardiomyocytes can induce ROS via Ras pathway and the increased ROS are involved in the increase of c-fos expression. Our studies thus emphasize the importance of ROS as second messengers in Et-1-induced responses on cardiomyocytes.

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