Indexed on: 23 Mar '10Published on: 23 Mar '10Published in: Pharmacological Research
It is well known that type 2 diabetes mellitus is frequently associated with vascular dysfunction and an elevated systemic blood pressure, yet the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. We previously reported that in mesenteric arteries from established type 2 diabetic Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rats, which exhibit endothelial dysfunction, there is an imbalance between endothelium-derived vasodilators [namely, nitric oxide (NO) and hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)] and vasoconstrictors [contracting factors (EDCFs) such as cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived prostanoids]. Here, we investigated whether the angiotensin II receptor antagonist losartan might improve endothelial dysfunction in OLETF rats at the established stage of diabetes. In mesenteric arteries isolated from OLETF rats [vs. those from age-matched control Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats]: (1) the acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxation was impaired, (2) the NO- and EDHF-mediated relaxations were reduced, (3) the ACh-induced EDCF-mediated contraction and the production of prostanoids were increased, and (4) superoxide generation was increased. After such OLETF rats had received losartan (25 mg/kg/day p.o. for 4 weeks), their isolated mesenteric arteries exhibited: (1) improvements in ACh-induced NO- and EDHF-mediated relaxations, (2) reduced EDCF- and arachidonic acid-induced contractions, (3) suppressed production of prostanoids, (4) reduced PGE(2)-mediated contraction, and (5) reduced superoxide generation. Within the timescale studied here, losartan did not change the protein expressions of endothelial NO synthase, COX1, or COX2 in mesenteric arteries from either OLETF or LETO rats. Losartan thus normalizes vascular dysfunction in this type 2 diabetic model, and the above effects may contribute to the reduction of adverse cardiovascular events seen in diabetic patients treated with angiotensin II receptor blockers.