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J Clin Invest. 1982 Sep;70(3):684-92.

Induction by glucocorticoids of angiotensin converting enzyme production from bovine endothelial cells in culture and rat lung in vivo.


The effect of corticosteroids on angiotensin converting enzyme was investigated in endothelial cell cultures and intact rat lung. Cultured endothelial cells from bovine aorta showed net production of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) over 2 d culture in serum-free medium. Dexamethasone (DM) increased cell ACE activity six- to sevenfold at 100 nM with a threshold effect at 0.3 nM. The effect of DM on ACE production was completely inhibited by actinomycin D or cycloheximide. Deoxycorticosterone (DOC) and aldosterone were markedly less active, with a threshold near 100 nM and significant (two to threefold) stimulation of ACE activity at 1 muM. In cells incubated in the presence of 10 nM DM, DOC (10 muM) significantly inhibited ACE production compared with 10 nM DM alone, suggesting that DOC is a partial agonist/partial antagonist in this enzyme system. Protein content of cells or medium was unchanged by steroids at all doses used. In vivo, adrenalectomized rats showed lower pulmonary ACE compared with intact controls, and when injected with DM (40 mug/d for 4 d) showed a significant (twofold, P < 0.002) increase in lung ACE over oil-injected, adrenalectomized controls; serum ACE did not change. Injection with DOC (40 mug/d) or aldosterone (10 mug/d) had no effect on lung or serum ACE. Over a range (0.6 to 2,000 mug) of concentrations of DM administered daily for 7 d, the dose-response curve of DM for induction of pulmonary ACE mirrored that for thymolysis; for both, half-maximal effects were seen at approximately 6 mug DM/d, and plateau levels at 60 mug/d. We conclude that glucocorticoids are potent inducers of ACE activity in endothelial cells in culture and in rat lung in vivo, and that the action of aldosterone and DOC reflects occupancy of glucocorticoid receptors. This effect may be of (patho)physiological relevance in regulating levels of ACE in local vascular beds, and thereby modulating local levels of the vasoactive peptides angiotensin II and bradykinin.

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