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J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 27:1-9. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2013-0147. [Epub ahead of print]

PKC-δ isozyme gene silencing restores vascular function in diabetic rat.



Endothelium and K+ channel functionality in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) regulates vascular function and is exposed to damage in diabetes. The regulatory enzyme protein kinase C (PKC) is known to play a key role in vascular tone regulation in health and disease. In this study, we evaluated the effect of PKC-δ gene silencing using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) on endothelial dysfunction and acquired potassium channelopathy in vascular SMCs in diabetes.


The experimental design comprised diabetes induction by streptozotocin (65 mg/kg) in rats, RNA interference, isolated aortic ring contractile recordings, whole-cell patch-clamp technique, measurements of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and real-time polymerase chain reaction technique. Animals were killed by cervical dislocation following ketamine (45 mg/kg, i.p.) and xylazine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) anesthesia administration on the third month of diabetes and on the seventh day after intravenous injection of siRNAs.


The aortas of diabetic rats demonstrated depressed endothelium-dependent relaxation and integral SMCs outward K+ currents as compared with those of controls. On the seventh day, PKC-δ gene silencing effectively restored K+ currents and increased the amplitude of vascular relaxation up to control levels. An increased level of PKC-δ mRNA in diabetic aortas appeared to be reduced after targeted PKC-δ gene silencing. Similarly, the level of ROS production that was increased in diabetes came back to control values after siRNAs administration.


The silencing of PKC-δ gene expression using siRNAs led to restoration of vasodilator potential in rats with diabetes mellitus. It is likely that the siRNA technique can be a good therapeutic tool to normalize vascular function in diabetes.


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