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Circulation. 1994 Jul;90(1):362-8.

Angiotensin II increases plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 and tissue-type plasminogen activator messenger RNA in cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells.

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Istituto di Cardiologia, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.



The role of angiotensin as a vasoconstrictor is well established. Lately, several other actions of this hormone on vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells have been recognized including the induction of hypertrophy and/or DNA synthesis. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a mitogen recently shown to increase plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) synthesis in VSM cells, shares with angiotensin II (Ang II) several steps of its intracellular signaling pathway.


The expression of PAI-1 and tissue-type plasminogen activator (TPA) mRNA in cultured rat VSM cells was studied. Northern blot analysis demonstrated a severalfold increase in the PAI-1 mRNA 3 to 8 hours after stimulation with 300 nmol/L Ang II. A similar response for TPA mRNA was observed. This induction did not require the synthesis of an intermediate protein or peptide because it was not affected by cycloheximide. In the cell-conditioned supernatant, the net result was an increase in PAI-1 activity from 4.18 +/- 1.8 to 13.2 +/- 6.8 IU/mL 6 hours after the addition of 300 nmol/L Ang II (mean +/- SD, P < or = .008, n = 6). The Ang II-induced increase in PAI activity was dose related, with a maximal effect at a concentration of 23 nmol/L (n = 3) and an ED50 of 3.3 +/- 1.5 nmol/L (n = 3). [Sar1-Ile8]angiotensin II, a specific competitive antagonist of Ang II, blocked 90 +/- 9% (n = 3) of the PAI activity induced by 10 nmol/L Ang II. In basal conditions, fibrin overlay zymography demonstrated the presence of free TPA. After stimulation with Ang II, lysis caused by the in situ dissociation of TPA was also present in the region of the TPA/PAI-1 complex. Angiotensin I (Ang I) elicited an increase in PAI activity similar to that obtained with equivalent doses of Ang II. Captopril (5 micrograms/mL), an inhibitor of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), completely prevented the Ang I effect, demonstrating that VSM cells display an ACE-like activity.


Recent research has demonstrated the existence of a localized vascular renin-angiotensin system. The finding that Ang II can potentially modulate the plasminogen activation in the arterial wall has important biological and therapeutical implications for the evolution of arterial wall thrombi and the migration of cells through the vessel wall in the genesis of atherosclerotic lesions. We speculate that the reduction in thrombotic events observed in patients with a previous myocardial infarction and in high-renin, hypertensive patients treated with ACE inhibitors could be due at least in part to the decreased production of PAI-1 by VSM cells caused by these agents.

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