Rationale: Bone morphogenic protein (BMP)4 can stimulate superoxide production and exert proinflammatory effects on the endothelium. The underlying mechanisms of how BMP4 mediates endothelial dysfunction and hypertension remain elusive. Objective: To elucidate the cellular pathways by which BMP4-induced endothelial dysfunction is mediated through oxidative stress-dependent upregulation of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Methods and Results: Impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations, exaggerated endothelium-dependent contractions, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were observed in BMP4-treated mouse aortae, which were prevented by the BMP4 antagonist noggin. Pharmacological inhibition with thromboxane prostanoid receptor antagonist or COX-2 but not COX-1 inhibitor prevented BMP4-induced endothelial dysfunction, which was further confirmed with the use of COX-1-/- or COX-2 -/- mice. Noggin and knockdown of BMP receptor 1A abolished endothelium-dependent contractions and COX-2 upregulation in BMP4-treated aortae. Apocynin and tempol treatment were effective in restoring endothelium-dependent relaxations, preventing endothelium-dependent contractions and eliminating ROS overproduction and COX-2 overexpression in BMP4-treated aortae. BMP4 increased p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity through a ROS-sensitive mechanism and p38 MAPK inhibitor prevented BMP4-induced endothelial dysfunction. COX-2 inhibition blocked the effect of BMP4 without affecting BMP4-induced ROS overproduction and COX-2 upregulation. Importantly, renal arteries from hypertensive rats and humans showed higher levels of COX-2 and BMP4 accompanied by endothelial dysfunction. Conclusions: We show for the first time that ROS serve as a pathological link between BMP4 stimulation and the downstream COX-2 upregulation in endothelial cells, leading to endothelial dysfunction through ROS-dependent p38 MAPK activation. This BMP4/ROS/COX-2 cascade is important in the maintenance of endothelial dysfunction in hypertension.
- bone morphogenic protein 4
- endothelial dysfunction
- endothelium-dependent contractions
- reactive oxygen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine