Aims: It has been well demonstrated that phosphodiesterase-5A (PDE5A) is expressed in smooth muscle cells and plays an important role in regulation of vascular tone. The role of endothelial PDE5A, however, has not been yet characterized. The present study was undertaken to determine the presence, localization, and potential physiologic significance of PDE5A within vascular endothelial cells.
Methods and results: We demonstrate primary location of human, mouse, and bovine endothelial PDE5A at or near caveolae. We found that the spatial localization of PDE5A at the level of caveolin-rich lipid rafts allows for a feedback loop between endothelial PDE5A and nitric oxide synthase (NOS3). Treatment of human endothelium with PDE5A inhibitors resulted in a significant increase in NOS3 activity, whereas overexpression of PDE5A using an adenoviral vector, both in vivo and in cell culture, resulted in decreased NOS3 activity and endothelium-dependent vasodilation. The molecular mechanism responsible for these interactions is primarily regulated by cGMP-dependent second messenger. PDE5A overexpression also resulted in a significant decrease in protein kinase 1 (PKG1) activity. Overexpression of PKG1 rapidly activated NOS3, whereas silencing of the PKG1 gene with siRNA inhibited both NOS3 phosphorylation (S1179) and activity, indicating a novel role for PKG1 in direct regulation of NOS3.
Conclusion: Our data collectively suggest another target for PDE5A inhibition in endothelial dysfunction and provide another physiologic significance for PDE5A in the modulation of endothelial-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation. Using both in vitro and in vivo models, as well as human data, we show that inhibition of endothelial PDE5A improves endothelial function.