Phenylephrine, vasopressin and angiotensin II as determinants of proto-oncogene and heat-shock protein gene expression in adult rat heart and aorta

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The expression of two oncogenes (cone) c-myc and c-fos, coding for nuclear proteins which play a regulatory role in growth and differentiation, and of two genes coding for two heat shock proteins (HSP) 68 (molecular weight 68000) and 70 (molecular weight 70000), which have a protective function during stress, have been investigated by Northern blot analysis of the total RNA, extracted from adult rat ventricle and aorta. (1) The two one transcripts are absent from these tissues but their expression can be enhanced by a pretreatment with cycloheximide. (2) The HSP70 is, in part, constitutive, while HSP68 is not; both are thermo-inducible in an isolated coronary perfused rat heart. (3) The four messenger RNA (mRNA) are expressed in both ventricles and aorta, 1 or 2 hours after i.p. injection of 6mg/kg phenylephrine or 12 lU/kg of vasopressin. (4) They are also induced by a continuous or discontinuous injection of angiotensin II (7.5μg/kg per min) for 1–2 h, but only in the aorta. The lack of ventricular response to angiotensin II in rat ventricles has been attributed to the lack of angiotensin II receptors in this tissue. This indicates that, in addition to mechanical factors, circulating hormones which have in common the use of the phosphoinositol pathway, may activate the expression of genes coding for regulatory proteins. This may play a role in the genesis of both ventricular and aortic hypertrophy.

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