Background and purpose: To determine whether there is an association between vascular NADPH oxidase (NOX), superoxide, the small GTPase Rac(1) and PDE type 5 (PDE5) in human vascular smooth muscle cell (hVSMCs).
Experimental approach: hVSMCs were incubated with xanthine-xanthine oxidase (X-XO; a superoxide generating system) or the thromboxane A(2) analogue, U46619 (+/-superoxide dismutase (SOD) or apocynin) for 16 h. The expression of PDE5 and NOX-1 was assessed using Western blotting and superoxide measured. The role of Rac(1) in superoxide generation was assessed by overexpressing either the dominant-negative or constitutively active Rac isoforms. The effects of iloprost, DETA-NONOate and the Rho-kinase inhibitor, Y27632, on PDE5 and NOX-1 expression were also studied.
Key results: Following 16 h incubation, U46619 and X-XO promoted the expression of PDE5 and NOX-1, an effect blocked by SOD or apocynin when co-incubated over the same time course. X-XO and U46619 both promoted the formation of superoxide. Overexpression of dominant-negative Rac(1) or addition of iloprost, DETA-NONOate or Y27632 completely blocked both superoxide release and PDE5 protein expression and activity.
Conclusions and implications: These data demonstrate that superoxide derived from NOX upregulates the expression of PDE5 in human VSMCs. As PDE5 hydrolyses cyclic GMP, this effect may blunt the vasculoprotective actions of NO.