• Authors: Furst, R., Brueckl, C., Kuebler, W. M., Zahler, S., Krotz, F., Gorlach, A., Vollmar, A. M., Kiemer, A. K.
  • Year: 2005
  • Journal: Circ Res 96 43-53
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / jetPEI
  • Cell type: HUVEC
    Description: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells


The cardiovascular hormone atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) exerts anti-inflammatory effects on tumor necrosis factor-alpha-activated endothelial cells by inducing mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-1 (MKP-1). The underlying mechanisms are as yet unknown. We aimed to elucidate the signaling pathways leading to an induction of MKP-1 by ANP in primary human endothelial cells. By using antioxidants, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was shown to be crucially involved in MKP-1 upregulation. ANP was found to increase ROS formation in cultured cells as well as in the endothelium of intact rat lung vessels. We applied NAD(P)H oxidase (Nox) inhibitors (apocynin and gp91ds-tat) and revealed this enzyme complex to be crucial for superoxide generation and MKP-1 expression. Moreover, by performing Nox2/4 antisense experiments, we identified Nox2 as the critically involved Nox homologue. Pull-down assays and confocal microscopy showed that ANP activates the small Rho-GTPase Rac1. Transfection of a dominant-negative (RacN17) and constitutively active Rac1 mutant (RacV12) indicated that ANP-induced superoxide generation and MKP-1 expression are mediated via Rac1 activation. ANP-evoked production of superoxide was found to activate c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Using specific inhibitors, we linked ANP-induced JNK activation to MKP-1 expression and excluded an involvement of protein kinase C, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and p38 MAPK. MKP-1 induction was shown to depend on activation of the transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1) by using electrophoretic mobility shift assay and AP-1 decoys. In summary, our work provides insights into the mechanisms by which ANP induces MKP-1 and shows that ANP is a novel endogenous activator of endothelial Rac1 and Nox/Nox2.