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Monday, August 8, 2011

Chronic ethanol consumption reduces adrenomedullin-induced relaxation in the isolated rat aorta

Adrenomedullin (AM) is a peptide that displays cardiovascular protective activity. We investigated the effects of chronic ethanol consumption on vascular reactivity to AM and the expression of AM system components in the rat aorta.

Male Wistar rats were treated with ethanol (20% vol/vol) for 6 weeks. Vascular reactivity experiments were performed in the isolated rat aorta. Metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) levels were determined by gelatin zymography. Nitrite and nitrate generation was measured by chemiluminescence. Protein and mRNA levels of pre-pro-AM, calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) and RAMP1, 2, and 3 (receptor-activity-modifying proteins) were assessed by western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively.

Ethanol intake reduced AM-induced relaxation in endothelium-intact rat aortas, whereas calcitonin gene-related peptide-, acetylcholine-, and sodium nitroprusside-induced relaxation were not affected by ethanol intake.

G-nitro-l-arginine-methyl-ester (l-NAME), 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one, and tetraethylammonium reduced AM-induced relaxation in aortic rings from both control and ethanol-treated rats.

Ethanol consumption did not alter basal levels of nitrate and nitrite, nor did it affect the expression of MMP-2 in the rat aorta.

Ethanol consumption increased mRNA levels of pre-pro-AM and RAMP1. Protein levels of AM, CRLR, and RAMP1, 2, and 3 were not affected by ethanol consumption.

The major findings of the present study are that ethanol consumption reduces the vascular relaxation induced by AM and changes the mRNA expression of the components of the AM system in the vasculature. This response could be one of the mechanisms by which ethanol predisposes individuals to vascular dysfunction and hypertension.

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