Aldosterone Inactivates the Endothelin-B Receptor via a Cysteinyl Thiol Redox Switch to Decrease Pulmonary Endothelial Nitric Oxide Levels and Modulate Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Background—Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized, in part, by decreased endothelial nitric oxide (NO•) production and elevated levels of endothelin-1. Endothelin-1 is known to stimulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) via the endothelin-B receptor (ETB), suggesting that this signaling pathway is perturbed in PAH. Endothelin-1 also stimulates adrenal aldosterone synthesis; in systemic blood vessels, hyperaldosteronism induces vascular dysfunction by increasing endothelial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and decreasing NO• levels. We hypothesized that aldosterone modulates PAH by disrupting ETB-eNOS signaling through a mechanism involving increased pulmonary endothelial oxidant stress.
Methods and Results—In rats with PAH, elevated endothelin-1 levels were associated with elevated aldosterone levels in plasma and lung tissue and decreased lung NO• metabolites in the absence of left heart failure. In human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs), endothelin-1 increased aldosterone levels via PGC-1α/steroidogenesis factor-1-dependent upregulation of aldosterone synthase. Aldosterone also increased ROS production, which oxidatively modified cysteinyl thiols in the eNOS-activating region of ETB to decrease endothelin-1-stimulated eNOS activity. Substitution of ETB-Cys405 with alanine improved ETB-dependent NO• synthesis under conditions of oxidant stress, confirming that Cys405 is a redox sensitive thiol that is necessary for ETB-eNOS signaling. In HPAECs, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism with spironolactone decreased aldosterone-mediated ROS generation and restored ETB-dependent NO• production. Spironolactone or eplerenone prevented or reversed pulmonary vascular remodeling and improved cardiopulmonary hemodynamics in two animal models of PAH in vivo.
Conclusions—Our findings demonstrate that aldosterone modulates an ETB cysteinyl thiol redox switch to decrease pulmonary endothelium-derived NO• and promote PAH.
- Received January 20, 2012.
- Accepted June 28, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited