Vascular-Targeting Antioxidant Therapy in a Model of Hypertension and Stroke


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Abstract

Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension and stroke. Superoxide is produced by NAD(P)H oxidase in the vasculature and reduces nitric oxide bioavailability, which leads to increased blood pressure. The objective of this study was to determine whether targeting an antioxidant peptide to the vasculature would increase the antioxidant effect and reduce systolic blood pressure (SBP) in a model of genetic hypertension, the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat. Vascular-targeting peptides CRPPR and CSGMARTKC were identified by phage display in mice. These peptides retain their selectivity across species and target the aorta (CRPPR) and cardiac vasculature (CSGMARTKC) in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat. These vascular-targeting peptides were linked to the antioxidant peptide gp91ds, which selectively inhibits assembly of NAD(P)H oxidase, thereby reducing superoxide production. SBP was determined for 1 week before treatment followed by 3 weeks of study duration before euthanasia. SBP in the control animals increased from 178.1 ± 4.1 mmHg to 201.6 ± 9.0 mmHg. The SBP of the animals treated with gp91ds alone, HIV-tat-gp91ds, and CSGMARTKC-gp91ds increased from 177.8 ± 3.5 mmHg, 179.8 ± 4.7 mmHg, and 177.9 ± 5.2 mmHg, respectively, to 201.6 ± 10.8 mmHg, 200.3 ± 11.7 mmHg and 205.7 ± 10.9 mmHg, respectively. This increase in SBP was significantly attenuated in animals receiving CRPPR-gp91ds (maximum SBP 187.5 mmHg ± 5.2, *P < 0.001 versus other treatment groups and control group). Additionally, animals treated with CRPPR-gp91ds, CSGMARTKC-gp91ds, and gp91ds alone showed significantly improved nitric oxide bioavailability determined by large vessel myography. Therefore, targeting an antioxidant to the aortic vasculature in vivo using peptides can significantly improve nitric oxide bioavailability and attenuate the time-dependent and progressive increase in SBP in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat. This study has demonstrated the importance and potential benefit of targeting a biologically active peptide in the context of a preclinical model of endothelial dysfunction and hypertension.

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