mPGES-1 (Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1) Mediates Vascular Dysfunction in Hypertension Through Oxidative Stress

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mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1), the downstream enzyme responsible for PGE2 (prostaglandin E2) synthesis in inflammatory conditions and oxidative stress are increased in vessels from hypertensive animals. We evaluated the role of mPGES-1–derived PGE2 in the vascular dysfunction and remodeling in hypertension and the possible contribution of oxidative stress. We used human peripheral blood mononuclear cells from asymptomatic patients, arteries from untreated and Ang II (angiotensin II)–infused mPGES-1−/− and mPGES-1+/+ mice, and vascular smooth muscle cells exposed to PGE2. In human cells, we found a positive correlation between mPGES-1 mRNA and carotid intima-media thickness (r=0.637; P<0.001) and with NADPH oxidase–dependent superoxide production (r=0.417; P<0.001). In Ang II–infused mice, mPGES-1 deletion prevented all of the following: (1) the augmented wall:lumen ratio, vascular stiffness, and altered elastin structure; (2) the increased gene expression of profibrotic and proinflammatory markers; (3) the increased vasoconstrictor responses and endothelial dysfunction; (4) the increased NADPH oxidase activity and the diminished mitochondrial membrane potential; and (5) the increased reactive oxygen species generation and reduced NO bioavailability. In vascular smooth muscle cells or aortic segments, PGE2 increased NADPH oxidase expression and activity and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential, effects that were abolished by antagonists of the PGE2 receptors (EP), EP1 and EP3, and by JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) and ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal–regulated kinases 1/2) inhibition. Deletion of mPGES-1 augmented vascular production of PGI2 suggesting rediversion of the accumulated PGH2 substrate. In conclusion, mPGES-1–derived PGE2 is involved in vascular remodeling, stiffness, and endothelial dysfunction in hypertension likely through an increase of oxidative stress produced by NADPH oxidase and mitochondria.

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