Scientific publications

Mechanisms of increased susceptibility to angiotensin II-induced apoptosis in ventricular cardiomyocytes of spontaneously hypertensive rats

Dec 1, 2000 | Magazine: Hypertension

Ravassa S., Fortuño M.A., González A., López B., Zalba G., Fortuño A., Díez J.

Previous findings have shown that hypotensive doses of losartan prevent the excess of apoptosis present in the hypertrophied left ventricle of adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). This study was designed to determine whether angiotensin II facilitates apoptosis in cardiomyocytes of adult SHR.

Primary cultures of ventricular cardiomyocytes from 30-week-old normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) and SHR with left ventricular hypertrophy were exposed to 10(-)(9) mol/L angiotensin II for 24 hours. Apoptotic cells were assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase assay and confirmed by Annexin V detection. The expression of Bax-alpha, Bcl-2, p53, and caspase-3 proteins was assessed by Western blot assays. The expression of BAX gene was assessed by Northern blot. Angiotensin II increased (P<0.01) cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and this effect was higher (P<0.001) in SHR cells than in WKY cells.

Whereas losartan (10(-7) mol/L) blocked the apoptotic effect of the octapeptide in cells from the two strains of rats, PD123319 (10(-7) mol/L) inhibited angiotensin II-mediated apoptosis only in SHR cells. Angiotensin II stimulated (P<0.01) Bax-alpha protein, and this effect was higher (P<0.01) in SHR cells than in WKY cells. Angiotensin II did not modify Bcl-2, p53, and BAX mRNA in cells from the two strains of rats. Angiotensin II induced a similar increase (P<0.05) in the ratio caspase-3/procaspase-3 (an index of caspase-3 activation) in cardiomyocytes from the two strains of rats. The present in vitro results indicate that SHR cardiomyocytes exhibit enhanced susceptibility to angiotensin II-induced apoptosis. Ligand binding to angiotensin II type 1 and type 2 receptors leading to changes in posttranscriptional processing of Bax-alpha and accumulation of this proapoptotic protein may be involved in the abnormal response of SHR cardiomyocytes.

These data support a role for angiotensin II in apoptosis observed in the left ventricle of these rats.

CITATION Hypertension. 2000 Dec;36(6):1065-71