Reduction of blood pressure elevation by losartan in spontaneously hypertensive rats through suppression of LARG expression in vascular smooth muscle cells

J Formos Med Assoc. 2020 Jan;119(1 Pt 1):164-172. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2019.03.015. Epub 2019 Apr 5.


Background/purpose: This study sought to elucidate the mechanism by which losartan inhibits blood pressure (BP) elevation in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs).

Methods: Four-week-old Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats and SHRs were either treated with losartan (20 mg/kg/day) for 8 weeks or served as untreated controls. BP was measured by the tail-cuff method. At 12 weeks, isometric contraction of the aortic rings of the rats was evaluated with a force transducer and recorder. The mRNA and protein levels of the target Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs), and the extent of myosin phosphatase target subunit 1 (MYPT-1) phosphorylation in the aorta, were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay and Western blot analysis.

Results: The BP of the four-week-old SHRs did not differ from that of the age-matched WKY rats, whereas the BP of the twelve-week-old control group SHRs was higher than that of the control group WKY rats. Losartan treatment, however, inhibited BP elevation in both rat strains, doing so to a greater extent in the treatment group SHRs. The contractile force in response to angiotensin II of the aortic rings from the SHRs treated with losartan was significantly lower than that of the aortic rings from the non-treated SHRs. The protein expression of leukemia-associated RhoGEF (LARG) was significantly higher in the non-treated SHRs compared to the non-treated WKY rats.

Conclusion: The study results showed that the reduction of BP elevation by losartan in SHRs occurs through the suppression of LARG expression and MYPT-1 phosphorylation in vascular smooth muscle cells.

Keywords: Angiotensin II receptor; Calcium sensitization; Leukemia-associated rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (LARG); Losartan; Myosin phosphatase target subunit 1.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Losartan / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / drug effects
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / drug effects
  • Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Arhgef12 protein, rat
  • Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Ppp1r12a protein, rat
  • Protein Phosphatase 1
  • Losartan