Hypertension is associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased cardiovascular risk. Caveolin-1 regulates nitric oxide (NO) signaling by modulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). The purpose of this study was to examine whether HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor improves impaired endothelial function of the aorta in spontaneous hypertensive rat (SHR) and to determine the underlying mechanisms involved. Eight-week-old male SHR were assigned to either a control group (CON, n=11) or a rosuvastatin group (ROS, n=12), rosuvastatin (10 mg/kg/day) administered for eight weeks. Abdominal aortic rings were prepared and responses to acetylcholine (10-9-10-4 M) were determined in vitro. To evaluate the potential role of NO and caveolin-1, we examined the plasma activity of NOx, eNOS, phosphorylatedeNOS and expression of caveolin-1. The relaxation in response to acetylcholine was significantly enhanced in ROS compared to CON. Expression of eNOS RNA was unchanged, whereas NOx level and phosphorylated-eNOS at serine-1177 was increased accompanied with depressed level of caveolin-1 in ROS. We conclude that 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme-A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor can improve impaired endothelial dysfunction in SHR, and its underlying mechanisms are associated with increased NO production. Furthermore, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor can activate the eNOS by phosphorylation related to decreased caveolin-1 abundance. These results imply the therapeutic strategies for the high blood pressure-associated endothelial dysfunction through modifying caveolin status.
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