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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Apr 15;212(2):127-35. Epub 2005 Aug 15.

Characterizing the role of endothelin-1 in the progression of cardiac hypertrophy in aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) null mice.

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College of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor characterized to play a role in detection and adaptation to environmental stimuli. Genetic deletion of AhR results in hypertension, and cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, associated with elevated plasma angiotensin II (Ang II) and endothelin-1 (ET-1), thus AhR appears to contribute to cardiovascular homeostasis. In these studies, we tested the hypothesis that ET-1 mediates cardiovascular pathology in AhR null mice via ETA receptor activation. First, we determine the time courses of cardiac hypertrophy, and of plasma and tissue ET-1 expression in AhR wildtype and null mice. AhR null mice exhibited increases in heart-to-body weight ratio and age-related expression of cardiac hypertrophy markers, beta-myosin heavy chain (beta-MHC), and atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), which were significant at 2 months. Similarly, plasma and tissue ET-1 expression was significantly elevated at 2 months and increased further with age. Second, AhR null mice were treated with ETA receptor antagonist, BQ-123 (100 nmol/kg/day), for 7, 28, or 58 days and blood pressure, cardiac fibrosis, and cardiac hypertrophy assessed, respectively. BQ-123 for 7 days significantly reduced mean arterial pressure in conscious, catheterized mice. BQ-123 for 28 days significantly reduced the histological appearance of cardiac fibrosis. Treatment for 58 days significantly reduced cardiac mass, assessed by heart weight, echocardiography, and beta-MHC and ANF expression; and reduced cardiac fibrosis as determined by osteopontin and collagen I mRNA expression. These findings establish ET-1 and the ETA receptor as primary determinants of hypertension and cardiac pathology in AhR null mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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