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Circ Res. 2003 Oct 31;93(9):874-83. Epub 2003 Oct 9.

Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 plays a pivotal role in angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medical Science, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.

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Multiple lines of evidence establish that angiotensin II (Ang II) induces not only hypertension but also directly contributes to cardiac diseases. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), one of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases, plays a key role in stress-induced cellular responses. However, nothing is known about the role of ASK1 in cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling in vivo. In this study, by using mice deficient in ASK1 (ASK1-/- mice), we investigated the role of ASK1 in cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling induced by Ang II. Left ventricular (LV) ASK1 was activated by Ang II infusion in wild-type mice, which was mediated by angiotensin II type 1 receptor and superoxide. Although Ang II-induced hypertensive effect was comparable to wild-type and ASK1-/- mice, LV ASK1 activation by Ang II was not detectable in ASK1-/- mice, and p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation was lesser in ASK-/- mice than in wild-type mice. Elevation of blood pressure by continuous Ang II infusion was comparable between ASK1-/- and wild-type mice. However, Ang II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling, including cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, cardiac hypertrophy-related mRNA upregulation, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, interstitial fibrosis, coronary arterial remodeling, and collagen gene upregulation, was significantly attenuated in ASK1-/- mice compared with wild-type mice. These results provided the first in vivo evidence that ASK1 is the critical signaling molecule for Ang II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling. Thus, ASK1 is proposed to be a potential therapeutic target for cardiac diseases.

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