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Hypertension. 2005 Feb;45(2):233-9. Epub 2004 Dec 20.

Thiazide-like diuretics attenuate agonist-induced vasoconstriction by calcium desensitization linked to Rho kinase.

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Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology, Daping Hospital, Center for Hypertension and Metabolic Disease, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing Hypertension Institute, Chongqing, China. <>


Lowering blood pressure using thiazide-like diuretics, including chlorthalidone and hydrochlorothiazide, has been proven to be effective in clinical studies. However, the mechanisms by which thiazide-like diuretics lower blood pressure are still poorly understood. To evaluate whether thiazide-like diuretics cause calcium desensitization in smooth muscle cells, we measured their effects on agonist-induced increase of blood pressure in Wistar rats in vivo and on agonist-induced vasoconstriction of aortic rings, DNA synthesis, and protein synthesis, RhoA, Rho kinase, and intracellular calcium in vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro. Thiazide-like diuretics significantly attenuated angiotensin II-induced or norepinephrine-induced increase of systolic blood pressure in rats. Thiazide-like diuretics inhibited agonist-induced vasoconstriction of aortic rings in a concentration-dependent manner in the presence and absence of endothelium. The inhibitory effects of thiazide-like diuretics were similar to that of the specific Rho kinase inhibitor Y27632. RT-PCR and immunoblotting showed that RhoA and Rho kinase were significantly reduced in vascular smooth muscle cells after administration of thiazide-like diuretics. In contrast, thiazide-like diuretics did not affect protein tyrosine phosphatase-2 (SHP-2) expression. Agonist-induced changes of intracellular calcium were not affected by thiazide-like diuretics. The study indicates that thiazide-like diuretics inhibit agonist-induced vasoconstriction by calcium desensitization in smooth muscle cells linked to the Rho-Rho kinase pathway.

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