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Am J Physiol. 1995 Dec;269(6 Pt 1):C1371-8.

Regulation of endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase mRNA expression by shear stress.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332-0405, USA.


Shear stress enhances expression of Ca(2+)-calmodulin-sensitive endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (ecNOS) mRNA and protein in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). The present studies were performed to investigate mechanisms responsible for regulation of ecNOS mRNA expression by shear stress and to determine if this induction of ecNOS mRNA is accompanied by an enhanced nitric oxide (NO) production. Shear stresses of 15 dyn/cm2 for 3-24 h resulted in a two- to threefold increase of ecNOS mRNA content quantified by Northern analysis in BAEC. Shear stresses (1.2-15 dyn/cm2) for 3 h resulted in an induction of ecNOS mRNA in a dose-dependent manner. In human aortic endothelial cells, shear stresses of 15 dyn/cm2 for 3 h also resulted in ecNOS mRNA induction. In BAEC, this induction in ecNOS mRNA was prevented by coincubation with actinomycin D (10 micrograms/ml). The K+ channel antagonist tetraethylammonium chloride (3 mM) prevented increase in ecNOS mRNA in response to shear stress. The ecNOS promotor contains putative binding domains for AP-1 complexes, potentially responsive to activation of protein kinase C (PKC). However, selective PKC inhibitor calphostin C (100 nM) did not inhibit ecNOS induction by shear stress. Finally, production of nitrogen oxides under both basal conditions and in response to the calcium ionophore A-23187 (1 microM) by BAEC exposed to shear stress was increased approximately twofold compared with cells not exposed to shear stress. These data suggest that ecNOS mRNA expression is regulated by K+ channel opening, but not by activation of PKC, and that shear not only enhances ecNOS mRNA expression but increases capacity of endothelial cells to release NO.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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