Both isozymes of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which interconvert active and inactive glucocorticoids, are expressed in the mouse aortic wall. Mice deficient in 11HSD type 2 ( which converts active corticosterone into inert 11-dehydrocorticosterone) have hypertension and impaired endothelial nitric oxide activity. It has been suggested that 11HSD2 influences vascular function directly by limiting glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. This study sought to determine (1) the cellular distribution of the 11HSD isozymes within the mouse aortic wall and (2) the influence of 11HSD2 on direct glucocorticoid-mediated changes in aortic function. Mouse aortas were separated into their component layers and RNA extracted for RT-PCR. Both types of corticosteroid (mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid) receptors and both 11HSD isozymes were expressed in the aortic wall. 11HSD1 expression colocalized with alpha-smooth muscle actin (a marker for smooth muscle cells), whereas 11HSD2 colocalized with TIE-2 (a marker for endothelial cells). Functional relaxation responses of mouse aortic rings were unaltered after exposure to glucocorticoids for 24 hours. In the presence of L-arginine, glucocorticoids produced an endothelium-independent reduction of contraction; similar results were obtained with aortas from mice with genetic inactivation of 11HSD2. Incubation in medium containing L-arginine reversed the endothelial cell dysfunction associated with 11HSD2 inactivation. Thus, 11HSD2 is appropriately sited to modulate endothelial cell function, but endothelial dysfunction in 11HSD2 knockout mice cannot be explained simply by increased access of corticosterone to endothelial cell corticosteroid receptors. Therefore, additional mechanisms, possibly involving indirect effects of enhanced corticosterone action in the kidney and the resultant hypertension, must be involved.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2003|