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Hypertension. 2011 Mar;57(3):577-85. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.165274. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Angiotensin II type 1A receptors in vascular smooth muscle cells do not influence aortic remodeling in hypertension.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Duke University Medical Center, Room 2028 MSRB2, 106 Research Dr, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Vascular injury and remodeling are common pathological sequelae of hypertension. Previous studies have suggested that the renin-angiotensin system acting through the type 1 angiotensin II (AT(1)) receptor promotes vascular pathology in hypertension. To study the role of AT(1) receptors in this process, we generated mice with cell-specific deletion of AT(1) receptors in vascular smooth muscle cells using Cre/Loxp technology. We crossed the SM22α-Cre transgenic mouse line expressing Cre recombinase in smooth muscle cells with a mouse line bearing a conditional allele of the Agtr1a gene (Agtr1a (flox)), encoding the major murine AT(1) receptor isoform (AT(1A)). In SM22α-Cre(+)Agtr1a (flox/flox) (SMKO) mice, AT(1A) receptors were efficiently deleted from vascular smooth muscle cells in larger vessels but not from resistance vessels such as preglomerular arterioles. Thus, vasoconstrictor responses to angiotensin II were preserved in SMKO mice. To induce hypertensive vascular remodeling, mice were continuously infused with angiotensin II for 4 weeks. During infusion of angiotensin II, blood pressures increased significantly and to a similar extent in SMKO and control mice. In control mice, there was evidence of vascular oxidative stress indicated by enhanced nitrated tyrosine residues in segments of aorta; this was significantly attenuated in SMKO mice. Despite these differences in oxidative stress, the extent of aortic medial expansion induced by angiotensin II infusion was virtually identical in both groups. Thus, vascular AT(1A) receptors promote oxidative stress in the aortic wall but are not required for remodeling in angiotensin II-dependent hypertension.

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