Scientific publications 

p53-mediated upregulation of BAX gene transcription is not involved in Bax-alpha protein overexpression in the left ventricle of spontaneously hypertensive rats

Fortuño M.A., Zalba G., Ravassa S., D'Elom E., Beaumont F.J., Fortuño A., Díez J.
Vascular Pathophysiology Unit, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Magazine: Hypertension

Date: Jun 1, 1999


An association of increased apoptosis with overexpression of the proapoptotic protein Bax-alpha has been reported in the left ventricle of adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Both alterations were corrected in SHR that received long-term treatment with the AT1 antagonist losartan.

To gain insight into the regulation of cardiac Bax-alpha protein in genetic hypertension, we investigated the expression of the protein p53 (a BAX gene transcription factor) and BAX mRNA in the left ventricle of 30-week-old Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY), SHR, and SHR treated with losartan (20 mg. kg-1. d-1) during 14 weeks before death. The expression of p53 and Bax proteins was assessed by Western blot analysis. The expression of BAX mRNA was assessed by Northern blot analysis.

The density of apoptotic cells was assessed by direct immunoperoxidase detection of biotin-labeled deoxyuridine nucleotides. Compared with WKY, untreated SHR exhibited increased apoptosis (P<0.05), increased Bax-alpha protein (P<0.05), and similar levels of p53 protein and BAX mRNA. Losartan given long term was associated with the normalization of apoptosis and Bax-alpha protein expression. The expression of BAX mRNA was decreased (P<0. 05) in treated SHR compared with untreated SHR. No changes in the expression of p53 protein were observed in losartan-treated SHR. These results suggest that overexpression of the Bax-alpha protein seen in the left ventricle of adult SHR with increased apoptosis is not related to a p53-mediated upregulation of BAX gene transcription.

Our data also suggest that normalization of Bax-alpha protein observed in SHR after long-term blockade of angiotensin II type 1 receptors may be due to the inhibition of BAX gene transcription.

CITATION  Hypertension. 1999 Jun;33(6):1348-52

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