Pleiotropic activation of endothelial function by angiotensin II receptor blockers is crucial to their protective anti-vascular remodeling effects

Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 13;12(1):9771. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-13772-3.


There are no therapeutics that directly enhance chronic endothelial nitric oxide (NO) release, which is typically associated with vascular homeostasis. In contrast, angiotensin II (AngII) receptor type 1 (AT1R) blockers (ARBs) can attenuate AngII-mediated oxidative stress, which often leads to increased endothelial NO bioavailability. Herein, we investigate the potential presence of direct, AngII/AT1R-independent ARB class effects on endothelial NO release and how this may result in enhanced aortic wall homeostasis and endothelial NO-specific transcriptome changes. Treatment of mice with four different ARBs induced sustained, long-term inhibition of vascular contractility by up to 82% at 16 weeks and 63% at 2 weeks, an effect reversed by L-NAME and absent in endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) KO mice or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor captopril-treated animals. In absence of AngII or in tissues with blunted AT1R expression or incubated with an AT2R blocker, telmisartan reduced vascular tone, supporting AngII/AT1R-independent pleiotropism. Finally, telmisartan was able to inhibit aging- and Marfan syndrome (MFS)-associated aortic root widening in NO-sensitive, BP-independent fashions, and correct aberrant TGF-β signaling. RNAseq analyses of aortic tissues identified early eNOS-specific transcriptome reprogramming of the aortic wall in response to telmisartan. This study suggests that ARBs are capable of major class effects on vasodilatory NO release in fashions that may not involve blockade of the AngII/AT1R pathway. Broader prophylactic use of ARBs along with identification of non-AngII/AT1R pathways activated by telmisartan should be investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / metabolism
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers* / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Telmisartan / pharmacology
  • Vascular Remodeling


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Angiotensin II
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Telmisartan