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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Sep;297(3):E685-94. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00291.2009. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

Treatment of spontaneously hypertensive rats with rosiglitazone ameliorates cardiovascular pathophysiology via antioxidant mechanisms in the vasculature.

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  • 1Dept. of Pharmacology and Human Physiology, Medical School, Univ. of Bari, Policlinico-Piazza G. Cesare, 11, 70124 Bari, Italy.


Oxidative stress contributes to cardiovascular complications of diabetes, in part, by reducing the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO). We investigated the mechanisms whereby the insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone may ameliorate oxidative stress in the vasculature of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Nine-week-old SHR were treated by gavage for 7 wk with rosiglitazone (5 mg x kg(-1) x day(-1)) or vehicle control. Treatment of SHR with rosiglitazone lowered systolic blood pressure, reduced fasting plasma insulin and asymmetrical dimethylarginine, and increased insulin sensitivity (when compared with vehicle treatment). In vessel homogenates and serum from rosiglitazone-treated SHR, SOD activity was enhanced, while 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) (lipid peroxidation product) was reduced (when compared with samples from vehicle-treated SHR). Moreover, expression of p22phox (catalytic subunit of NADPH oxidase) as well as nitrotyrosine and superoxide content were all reduced in the aortas of rosiglitazone-treated SHR. In mesenteric vascular beds (MVB) isolated ex vivo from rosiglitazone-treated SHR, NO-dependent vasodilator actions of insulin were improved when compared with MVB from vehicle-treated SHR. Acute pretreatment of MVB from vehicle-treated SHR with apocynin (NADPH oxidase inhibitor) enhanced vasodilator actions of insulin (results comparable to those in MVB from rosiglitazone-treated SHR). In Langendorff heart preparations from rosiglitazone-treated SHR, ischemia/reperfusion injury caused infarcts 40% smaller than in hearts from vehicle-treated SHR. Acute pretreatment of hearts from vehicle-treated SHR with apocynin produced similar results. Finally, rosiglitazone treatment of endothelial cells in primary culture reduced superoxide induced by insulin-resistant conditions. We conclude that rosiglitazone therapy in SHR increases SOD activity and decreases p22phox expression in the vasculature to reduce oxidant stress leading to an improved cardiovascular phenotype.

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