Angiotensin-(1–7) reduces the perfusion pressure response to angiotensin II and methoxamine via an endothelial nitric oxide-mediated pathway in cirrhotic rat liver

Chandana B. Herath, Kai Mak, Louise M. Burrell, Peter W. Angus


Recent studies have shown that, in cirrhosis, portal angiotensin-(1–7) [Ang-(1–7)] levels are increased and hepatic expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the Mas receptor are upregulated, but the effects of Ang-(1–7) on hepatic hemodynamics in cirrhosis have not been studied. This study investigated the effects of Ang-(1–7) on vasoconstrictor-induced perfusion pressure increases in cirrhotic rat livers. Ang II or the alpha 1 agonist methoxamine (MTX) were injected in the presence or absence of Ang-(1–7), and the perfusion pressure response was recorded. Denudation of vascular endothelial cells with sodium deoxycholate was used to investigate the contribution of endothelium to the effects of Ang-(1–7). Ang-(1–7) alone had no effect on perfusion pressure. However, it reduced the maximal vasoconstriction response and area under the pressure response curve to Ang II and MTX by >50% (P < 0.05). This effect of Ang-(1–7) was not blocked by Mas receptor inhibition with A779 or by Ang II type 1 and type 2 receptor and bradykinin B2 receptor blockade and was not reproduced by the Mas receptor agonist AVE0991. D-Pro7-Ang-(1–7), a novel Ang-(1–7) receptor antagonist, completely abolished the vasodilatory effects of Ang-(1–7), as did inhibition of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) with NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl-ester, guanylate cyclase blockade with ODQ and endothelium denudation. The functional inhibition by D-Pro7-Ang-(1–7) was accompanied by significant (P < 0.05) inhibition of eNOS phosphorylation. This study shows that Ang-(1–7) significantly inhibits intrahepatic vasoconstriction in response to key mediators of increased vascular and sinusoidal tone in cirrhosis via a receptor population present on the vascular endothelium that is sensitive to D-Pro7-Ang-(1–7) and causes activation of eNOS and guanylate cyclase-dependent NO signaling pathways.

  • hepatic fibrosis
  • hepatic resistance
  • renin angiotensin system
  • vasodilatation
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