Indexed on: 02 May '08Published on: 02 May '08Published in: Experimental Physiology
Angiotensin (ANG) II contributes to cardiac remodelling by inducing the activation of several signalling molecules, including ERK1/2, Rho kinase and members of the STAT family of proteins. Angiotensin-(1-7) is produced in the heart and inhibits the proliferative actions of ANG II, although the mechanisms of this inhibition are poorly understood. Accordingly, in the present study we examined whether ANG-(1-7) affects the ANG II-mediated activation of ERK1/2 and Rho kinase, STAT3 and STAT5a/b in rat heart in vivo. We hypothesized that ANG-(1-7) inhibits these growth-promoting pathways, counterbalancing the trophic action of ANG II. Solutions of normal saline (0.9% NaCl) containing ANG II (8 pmol kg(-1)) plus ANG-(1-7) in increasing doses (from 0.08 to 800 pmol kg(-1)) were administered via the inferior vena cava to anaesthetized male Sprague-Dawley rats. After 5 min, hearts were removed and ERK1/2, Rho kinase, STAT3 and STAT5a/b phosphorylation was determined by Western blotting using phosphospecific antibodies. Angiotensin II stimulated ERK1/2 and Rho kinase phosphorylation (2.3 +/- 0.2- and 2.1 +/- 0.2-fold increase over basal values, respectively), while ANG-(1-7) was without effect. The ANG II-mediated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Rho kinase was prevented in a dose-dependent manner by ANG-(1-7) and disappeared in the presence of the Mas receptor antagonist d-Ala7-ANG-(1-7). Both ANG II and ANG-(1-7) increased STAT3 and STAT5a/b phosphorylation to a similar extent (130-140% increase). The ANG-(1-7)-stimulated STAT phosphorylation was blocked by the AT(1) receptor antagonist losartan and not by d-Ala7-ANG-(1-7). Our results show a dual action of ANG-(1-7), that is, a stimulatory effect on STAT3 and 5a/b phosphorylation through AT(1) receptors and a blocking action on ANG II-stimulated ERK1/2 and Rho kinase phosphorylation through Mas receptor activation. The latter effect could be representative of a mechanism for a protective role of ANG-(1-7) in the heart by counteracting the effects of locally generated ANG II.