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Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 15;718(1-3):401-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.08.003. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Correction of vascular hypercontractility in spontaneously hypertensive rats using shRNAs-induced delta protein kinase C gene silencing.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Academy of Medical Sciences, Ukraine. Electronic address:


Potassium conductance in vascular smooth muscle (VSM) is known to be altered in arterial hypertension. High level of protein kinase C (PKC) activity is a common feature for hypertension of different genesis. The main goal of this study was to investigate the efficacy of the RNA interference (RNAi) technique targeting PKC delta-isoform gene as a possible pharmacological tool to restore vasodilator potential in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Experimental design of the study comprised RNAi and patch-clamp techniques, RT-PCR analysis and standard acetylcholine test. Total outward currents and acetylcholine-induced endothelium-dependent relaxant responses were blunted in SHR. BKCa alpha subunit mRNA expression in SHR was unchanged whereas KV and KATP mRNA expression appeared significantly increased. PKC inhibitor, chelerythrine (100 nM), restored potassium channels activity in SHR. PKC-delta-isoform protein expression and PKC-delta-isoform mRNA expression are 2.5-4 fold increased in VSM from SHR. PKC gene silencing with the short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs)-plasmid delivery system administered intravenously led to an increment in maximal amplitude of acetylcholine-relaxation, restored outward K(+) currents and PKC-delta-isoform mRNA and protein expression. Arterial blood pressure in SHR was normalized following shRNAs administration. We conclude that BKCa channels are likely to be the most PKC-dependent member of K(+) channels family responsible for vascular hypercontractility in SHR while Kv and KATP channels may constitute a reserve mechanism for the maintenance of vasodilator potential under BKCa channelopathy. It is likely that RNAi technique is a good therapeutic approach to inactivate PKC gene and to normalize vascular functions and high arterial blood pressure in SHR.


Arterial hypertension; Potassium channel; Protein kinase C; RNA-interference; Vascular smooth muscle

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