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Non-anticoagulant heparin increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity: role of inhibitory guanine nucleotide proteins.

Authors
  • Kouretas, P C
  • Hannan, R L
  • Kapur, N K
  • Hendrickson, R
  • Redmond, E M
  • Myers, A K
  • Kim, Y D
  • Cahill, P A
  • Sitzmann, J V
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1998
Volume
30
Issue
12
Pages
2669–2682
Identifiers
PMID: 9990538
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Heparin, which is widely used clinically, has recently been shown to have specific properties affecting the vascular endothelium. We hypothesized that heparin stimulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity by a mechanism independent of its anticoagulant properties and dependent on an inhibitory guanine nucleotide regulatory protein (Gi). We determined the effect of both heparin and N-acetyl heparin (Non-Hep), a heparin derivative without anticoagulant properties, on eNOS activity in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells and on endothelium-dependent relaxation in isolated vascular rings. The eNOS activity was determined by measuring both citrulline and nitric oxide (NO) metabolite formation. Heparin and Non-Hep dose-dependently increased basal eNOS activity (ED50 1.0 microgram/ml or 0.15 U/ml), an effect that was significantly inhibited by pertussis toxin (100 ng/ml), a Gi-protein inhibitor. Agonist-stimulated (acetylcholine, 10 microM) eNOS activity was potentiated following pre-treatment with both heparin and Non-Hep and reversed by pertussis toxin. Heparin and Non-Hep induced a dose-dependent relaxation in preconstricted thoracic aortic rings, an effect that was significantly inhibited by pertussis toxin, endothelial inactivation (following treatment with sodium deoxycholate) and NG-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME). We conclude that heparin and non-anticoagulant heparin induce endothelium-dependent relaxation following activation of eNOS by a mechanism involving a Gi-protein. Administration of heparin derivatives without anticoagulant properties may have therapeutic implications for the preservation of eNOS in conditions characterized by endothelial dysfunction.

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