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Hypertension. 2011 May;57(5):1010-7. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.168906. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Inhibition of the AMP-activated protein kinase-α2 accentuates agonist-induced vascular smooth muscle contraction and high blood pressure in mice.

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1
Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, BSEB 325, 941 Stanton L. Young Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to determine the effects and molecular mechanisms by which AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates smooth muscle contraction and blood pressure in mice. In cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells, we observed that activation of AMPK by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-β-d-ribofuranoside inhibited agonist-induced phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC) and myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1). Conversely, AMPK inhibition with pharmacological or genetic means potentiated agonist-induced the phosphorylation of MLC and MYPT1, whereas it inhibited both Ras homolog gene family member A and Rho-associated kinase activity. In addition, AMPK activation or Rho-associated kinase inhibition with Y27632 abolished agonist-induced phosphorylation of MLC and MYPT1. Gene silencing of p190-guanosine triphosphatase-activating protein abolished the effects of AMPK activation on MLC, MYPT1, and Ras homolog gene family member A in human smooth muscle cells. Ex vivo analyses revealed that agonist-induced contractions of the mesenteric artery and aortas were stronger in both AMPKα1(-/-) and AMPKα2(-/-) knockout mice than in wild-type mice. Inhibition of Rho-associated kinase with Y27632 normalized agonist-induced contractions of AMPKα1(-/-) and AMPKα2(-/-) vessels. AMPKα2(-/-) mice had higher blood pressure along with decreased serine phosphorylation of p190-guanosine triphosphatase-activating protein. Finally, inhibition of the Ras homolog gene family member A/Rho-associated kinase pathway with Y27632, which suppressed MYPT1 and MLC phosphorylation, lowered blood pressure in AMPKα2(-/-) mice. In conclusion, AMPK decreases vascular smooth muscle cell contractility by inhibiting p190-GTP-activating protein-dependent Ras homolog gene family member A activation, indicating that AMPK may be a new therapeutic target in lowering high blood pressure.

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