Novel mechanism of blood pressure regulation by forkhead box class O1-mediated transcriptional control of hepatic angiotensinogen.
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The renin-angiotensin system is a major determinant of blood pressure regulation. It consists of a cascade of enzymatic reactions involving 3 components: angiotensinogen, renin, and angiotensin-converting enzyme, which generate angiotensin II as a biologically active product. Angiotensinogen is largely produced in the liver, acting as a major determinant of the circulating renin-angiotensin system, which exerts acute hemodynamic effects on blood pressure regulation. How the expression of angiotensinogen is regulated is not completely understood. Here, we hypothesize that angiotensinogen is regulated by forkhead transcription factor forkhead box class O1 (Foxo1), an insulin-suppressed transcription factor, and thereby controls blood pressure in mice. We generated liver-specific Foxo1 knockout mice, which exhibited a reduction in plasma angiotensinogen and angiotensin II levels and a significant decrease in blood pressure. Using hepatocyte cultures, we demonstrated that overexpression of Foxo1 increased angiotensinogen expression, whereas hepatocytes lacking Foxo1 demonstrated a reduction of angiotensinogen gene expression and partially impaired insulin inhibition on angiotensinogen gene expression. Furthermore, mouse angiotensinogen prompter analysis demonstrated that the angiotensinogen promoter region contains a functional Foxo1-binding site, which is responsible for both Foxo1 stimulation and insulin suppression on the promoter activity. Together, these data demonstrate that Foxo1 regulates hepatic angiotensinogen gene expression and controls plasma angiotensinogen and angiotensin II levels, modulating blood pressure control in mice.