Role of endothelium in vasomotor responses to endothelin system and protein kinase C activation in porcine retinal arterioles. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Endothelial cells synthesize vasodilator nitric oxide (NO) and vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 (ET-1) from NO synthase (eNOS) and endothelin-converting enzyme-1 (ECE-1), respectively. Protein kinase C (PKC) and Rho kinase (ROCK) are major signaling molecules mediating vasoconstriction. Although endothelial cells express eNOS, ECE-1, endothelin B (ET(B)) receptors, PKC, and ROCK, their influences on ET-1-induced vasoconstriction remain elusive. We studied whether these endothelial signaling molecules modulate retinal arteriolar constriction to ET-1. METHODS: Porcine retinal arterioles were isolated and pressurized for vasomotor study, under conditions with intact or denuded endothelium, using videomicroscopic techniques. RESULTS: Retinal arterioles developed similar resting tone (45% of maximum diameter) with or without endothelium. Endothelial denudation attenuated vasoconstriction to ET-1 precursor, big ET-1, by almost equal to 50%, but did not affect vasoconstrictions to ET-1, ET(B) agonist sarafotoxin S6c, or PKC activator phorbol-12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu). The ROCK inhibitor H-1152 caused vasodilation, and abolished vasoconstrictions to ET-1 and PDBu independent of endothelium. With L-type voltage-operated calcium channel (L-VOCC) blocker nifedipine, PDBu-induced vasoconstriction was abolished and converted to NO-mediated vasodilation in the presence of endothelium. The ET-1-induced vasoconstriction was unaffected by NO released from endothelium during flow elevation. CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial and smooth muscle ECE-1 contribute equally to synthesis of vasoactive ET-1 in retinal arterioles, with nominal role of endothelial ETB receptors in vasoconstriction to ET-1. The PKC activation leads to endothelium-dependent NO-mediated vasodilation when smooth muscle contraction is ablated by L-VOCC blockade. Endothelial cells and NO appear to have modest roles in modulating ROCK-dependent vasoconstriction, and are insufficient to counteract smooth muscle contractions to ET-1 and PKC activation.

published proceedings

  • Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Potts, L. B., Bradley, P. D., Xu, W., Kuo, L., & Hein, T. W.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Potts, Luke B||Bradley, Patrick D||Xu, Wenjuan||Kuo, Lih||Hein, Travis W

publication date

  • November 2013