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Vasc Med. 2001;6(3):133-8.

Cholesterol-induced upregulation of angiotensin II and its effects on monocyte-endothelial interaction and superoxide production.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University, CA 94305-5246, USA.


Atherogenesis involves an early endothelial dysfunction hallmarked by elevated free radical production and increased adhesiveness for monocytes. It was hypothesized that activation of the tissue renin angiotensin system may contribute to the endothelial alteration. To test this hypothesis, thoracic aortae were isolated from normocholesterolemic (NC; n = 6) and hypercholesterolemic (HC; n = 6; diet: 0.5% cholesterol; 6 weeks) New Zealand white rabbits, and incubated for 2 h with the angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor antagonist Sar-1,Ile-8-Ang II, the antioxidant pyrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) and the protein kinase C (PKC) antagonist staurosporin. Superoxide production from aortic segments was measured by lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. In comparison to the normocholesterolemic state, hypercholesterolemia led to a significant increase in superoxide production (221 +/- 44%, p < 0.02); this was reduced by ex vivo treatment of the vessel segment with Ang II-antagonist (to 130 +/- 29%; p < 0.04 vs HC), or PKC-antagonist (to 86 +/- 26%; p < 0.001 vs HC), or PDTC (to 103 +/- 27%; p < 0.02 vs HC). Monocyte-endothelial interaction was assessed by functional binding assay. When compared to normocholesterolemic rabbits, hypercholesterolemia led to a twofold increase in monocyte binding (74 +/- 13 vs 37 +/- 4 monocytoid cells per high power field (m/hpf); p < 0.03). The Ang II-antagonist and the PKC-antagonist led to a normalization of monocyte-endothelial binding (Ang II-antagonist: 37 +/- 9 m/hpf; PKC-antagonist: 41 +/- 17 m/hpf; p < 0.05). In conclusion, these results indicate that hypercholesterolemia activates the tissue renin angiotensin system, which results in an increased endothelial production of superoxide and monocyte adhesiveness. Ang II-antagonist inhibits free radical production and monocyte adhesion through a mechanism which may include PKC.

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