Hypercholesterolemia is associated with a reduced response of smooth muscle guanylyl cyclase to nitrovasodilators.
A diminished relaxant response of atherosclerotic arteries to nitrovasodilators has been frequently observed in advanced stages of hypercholesterolemia. In the present study, we investigated whether this effect might be a result of reduced activity of smooth muscle guanylyl cyclase. Experimental atherosclerosis was induced by feeding rabbits a cholesterol-rich diet (1%) over a period of 4 months. Aortas were removed and homogenized, and guanylyl cyclase activity was measured in the 100,000 g supernatants. Sodium nitroprusside, which stimulated cyclic GMP (cGMP) formation in control tissues almost 200-fold (from 3 to 585 pmol cGMP.mg-1 x min-1), increased enzyme activities in atherosclerotic aortas only approximately 90-fold (from 3 to 257 pmol cGMP.mg-1 x min-1). Similarly, the maximal stimulatory effects of S-nitroso-glutathione were reduced from 200-fold (controls) to 114-fold in atherosclerotic tissues. Basal guanylyl cyclase activities were identical in both atherosclerotic and control vessels. Hypercholesterolemia also reduced the activity of smooth muscle adenylyl cyclase. In control aortas, basal and NaF-stimulated enzyme activities were 24 and 349 pmol cAMP.mg-1 x min-1, respectively, whereas cAMP formation was reduced in atherosclerotic aortas to 7 (basal) and 96 (NaF) pmol cAMP.mg-1.min-1. The stimulatory effect of NaF (approximately 14-fold) remained unchanged. Since adenylyl and guanylyl cyclase have important functions in regulating vascular tone, reduced activities of both enzymes may contribute to the diminished relaxant and/or enhanced vasoconstricting effects of vasoactive compounds in atherosclerotic blood vessels.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association