Background: Estrogen deficiency increases the cardiovascular risks in postmenopausal women. Inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and associated oxidative stress confers a cardiovascular protection, but the role of RAS in estrogen deficiency-related vascular dysfunction is unclear. The present study investigates whether the up-regulation of RAS and associated oxidative stress contributes to the development of endothelial dysfunction during estrogen deficiency in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Methodology/Principal Findings: Adult female rats were ovariectomized with and without chronic treatment with valsartan and enalapril. Isometric force measurement was performed in isolated aortae. The expression of RAS components was determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting method while ROS accumulation in the vascular wall was evaluated by dihydroethidium fluorescence. Ovariectomy increased the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R), NAD(P)H oxidase, and nitrotyrosine in the rat aorta. An over-production of angiotensin II and ROS was accompanied by decreased phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser1177 in OVX rat aortae. These pathophysiological changes were closely coupled with increased oxidative stress and decreased nitric oxide bioavailability, culminating in markedly impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations. Furthermore, endothelial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress in aortae of OVX rats were inhibited or reversed by chronic RAS inhibition with enalapril or valsartan. Conclusions/Significance: The novel findings highlight a significant therapeutic benefit of RAS blockade in the treatment of endothelial dysfunction-related vascular complications in postmenopausal states.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)