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Luke B. Potts, Patrick D. Bradley, Wenjuan Xu, Lih Kuo, Travis W. Hein; Role of Endothelium in Vasomotor Responses to Endothelin System and Protein Kinase C Activation in Porcine Retinal Arterioles. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(12):7587-7594. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13178.
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Endothelial cells synthesize vasodilator nitric oxide (NO) and vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 (ET-1) from NO synthase (eNOS) and endothelin-converting enzyme-1 (ECE-1), respectively. Protein kinase C (PKC) and Rho kinase (ROCK) are major signaling molecules mediating vasoconstriction. Although endothelial cells express eNOS, ECE-1, endothelin B (ETB) receptors, PKC, and ROCK, their influences on ET-1–induced vasoconstriction remain elusive. We studied whether these endothelial signaling molecules modulate retinal arteriolar constriction to ET-1.
Porcine retinal arterioles were isolated and pressurized for vasomotor study, under conditions with intact or denuded endothelium, using videomicroscopic techniques.
Retinal arterioles developed similar resting tone (≈45% of maximum diameter) with or without endothelium. Endothelial denudation attenuated vasoconstriction to ET-1 precursor, big ET-1, by almost equal to 50%, but did not affect vasoconstrictions to ET-1, ETB agonist sarafotoxin S6c, or PKC activator phorbol-12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu). The ROCK inhibitor H-1152 caused vasodilation, and abolished vasoconstrictions to ET-1 and PDBu independent of endothelium. With L-type voltage-operated calcium channel (L-VOCC) blocker nifedipine, PDBu-induced vasoconstriction was abolished and converted to NO-mediated vasodilation in the presence of endothelium. The ET-1–induced vasoconstriction was unaffected by NO released from endothelium during flow elevation.
Endothelial and smooth muscle ECE-1 contribute equally to synthesis of vasoactive ET-1 in retinal arterioles, with nominal role of endothelial ETB receptors in vasoconstriction to ET-1. The PKC activation leads to endothelium-dependent NO-mediated vasodilation when smooth muscle contraction is ablated by L-VOCC blockade. Endothelial cells and NO appear to have modest roles in modulating ROCK-dependent vasoconstriction, and are insufficient to counteract smooth muscle contractions to ET-1 and PKC activation.
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