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Cardiac-specific overexpression of angiotensin II AT2 receptor causes attenuated response to AT1 receptor-mediated pressor and chronotropic effects.

Masaki H., Kurihara T., Yamaki A., Inomata N., Nozawa Y., Mori Y., Murasawa S., Kizima K., Maruyama K., Horiuchi M., Dzau V.J., Takahashi H., Iwasaka T., Inada M., Matsubara H.

Angiotensin (Ang) II has two major receptor isoforms, AT1 and AT2. Currently, AT1 antagonists are undergoing clinical trials in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Treatment with AT1 antagonists causes elevation of plasma Ang II which selectively binds to AT2 and exerts as yet undefined effects. Cardiac AT2 level is low in adult hearts, whereas its distribution ratio is increased during cardiac remodeling and its action is enhanced by application of AT1 antagonists. Although in AT2 knock-out mice sensitivity to the pressor action of Ang II was increased, underlying mechanisms remain undefined. Here, we report the unexpected finding that cardiac-specific overexpression of the AT2 gene using alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter resulted in decreased sensitivity to AT1-mediated pressor and chronotropic actions. AT2 protein undetectable in the hearts of wild-type mice was overexpressed in atria and ventricles of the AT2 transgenic (TG) mice and the proportions of AT2 relative to AT1 were 41% in atria and 45% in ventricles. No obvious morphological change was observed in the myocardium and there was no significant difference in cardiac development or heart to body weight ratio between wild-type and TG mice. Infusion of Ang II to AT2 TG mice caused a significantly attenuated increase in blood pressure response and the change was completely blocked by pretreatment with AT2 antagonist. This decreased sensitivity to Ang II-induced pressor action was mainly due to the AT2-mediated strong negative chronotropic effect and exerted by circulating Ang II in a physiological range that did not stimulate catecholamine release. Isolated hearts of AT2 transgenic mice perfused using a Langendorff apparatus also showed decreased chronotropic responses to Ang II with no effects on left ventricular dp/dt max values, and Ang II-induced activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase was inhibited in left ventricles in the transgenic mice. Although transient outward K+ current recorded in cardiomyocytes from AT2 TG mice was not influenced by AT2 activation, this study suggested that overexpression of AT2 decreases the sensitivity of pacemaker cells to Ang II. Our results demonstrate that stimulation of cardia AT2 exerts a novel antipressor action by inhibiting AT1-mediated chronotropic effects, and that application of AT1 antagonists to patients with cardiovascular diseases has beneficial pharmacotherapeutic effects of stimulating cardiac AT2.

J. Clin. Invest. 101:527-535(1998) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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