Effects of insulin resistance and testosterone on the participation of cyclooxygenase isoforms in vascular reactivity
Harish Vasudevan1, Sally Lau1, Jihong Jiang2, John H McNeill1
1Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; 2Pediatric Oncology, Children and Women's Hospital, Child and Family Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Abstract: Testosterone plays an important role in mediating hypertension and altered vascular reactivity associated with insulin resistance. In addition to other pathways, testosterone-dependent changes in aortic cyclooxygenase (COX-2) mRNA levels affect blood pressure following insulin resistance. However their effects on vascular tone are unclear. We studied the changes in contraction response to phenylephrine (PE) in the aorta and superior mesenteric artery (SMA) from intact and gonadectomized fructose-fed rats. Constriction response to PE was studied in tissues incubated with the COX-1 and COX-2-selective antagonists, SC-560 and NS-398, respectively, and indomethacin, in addition to assessing its role in endothelium-dependent relaxation. Finally changes in COX-2 protein expression and plasma thromboxane A2 (TXA2), a downstream vasoconstrictor metabolite of COX-2, were measured. In fructose-fed rats, castration prevented the increase in blood pressure but not insulin resistance. The involvement of COX-2 in mediating the alpha-adrenergic vasoconstriction was higher in intact rat aorta compared to COX-1, which was prevented by castration. However, in the SMA, COX-2 participation was dependent on testosterone alone. Fructose-induced attenuation of endothelial relaxation was restored by indomethacin, which suggests a pro-vasoconstrictor role for COX. Both diet and testosterone did not alter vascular COX-2 expression thus suggesting the involvement of downstream testosterone-dependent pathways. This is supported by increased plasma TXA2 in the castrated rats compared to intact rats. Isoform-specific actions of COX are tissue-selective in states of insulin resistance and involve potential testosterone-dependent downstream targets. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of androgens and insulin resistance in vascular arachidonic acid metabolism.
Keywords: insulin resistance, cyclooxygenase, testosterone, vascular reactivity, phenylephrine