Modulation of protein kinase activity and gene expression by reactive oxygen species and their role in vascular physiology and pathophysiology

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000 Oct;20(10):2175-83. doi: 10.1161/01.atv.20.10.2175.


Emerging evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species, especially superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, are important signaling molecules in cardiovascular cells. Their production is regulated by hormone-sensitive enzymes such as the vascular NAD(P)H oxidases, and their metabolism is coordinated by antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Both of these reactive oxygen species serve as second messengers to activate multiple intracellular proteins and enzymes, including the epidermal growth factor receptor, c-Src, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, Ras, and Akt/protein kinase B. Activation of these signaling cascades and redox-sensitive transcription factors leads to induction of many genes with important functional roles in the physiology and pathophysiology of vascular cells. Thus, reactive oxygen species participate in vascular smooth muscle cell growth and migration; modulation of endothelial function, including endothelium-dependent relaxation and expression of a proinflammatory phenotype; and modification of the extracellular matrix. All of these events play important roles in vascular diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, suggesting that the sources of reactive oxygen species and the signaling pathways that they modify may represent important therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / enzymology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / enzymology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Signal Transduction
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • neutrophil cytosol factor 67K
  • Superoxides
  • Angiotensin II
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • CYBA protein, human
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases