The pathogenesis of hypertension is not fully understood; endothelin 1 (EDN1) is involved in developing essential hypertension. EDN1 can promote vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation or hypertrophy through autocrine and paracrine effects. Proliferating smooth muscle cells in the aorta are 'dedifferentiated' cells that cause increased arterial stiffness and remodeling. Male SHRs had higher aortic stiffness than normal control male WKY rats. Male SHR VSMCs expressed high levels of the EDN1 gene, but endothelial cells did not. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the molecular mechanism of enhanced EDN1 expression in SHR VSMCs. We identified POU2F2 and CEBPB as the main molecules that enhance EDN1 expression in male SHR VSMCs. A promoter activity analysis confirmed that the enhancer region of the Edn1 promoter in male SHR VSMCs was from −1309 to −1279 bp. POU2F2 and CEBPB exhibited an additive role in the enhancer region of the EdnET1 promoter. POU2F2 or CEBPB overexpression sufficiently increased EDN1 expression, and co-transfection with the CEBPB and POU2F2 expression plasmids had additive effects on the activity of the Edn1 promoter and EDN1 secretion level of male WKY VSMCs. In addition, the knockdown of POU2F2 also revealed that POU2F2 is necessary to enhance EDN1 expression in SHR VSMCs. The enhancer region of the Edn1 promoter is highly conserved in rats, mice, and humans. POU2F2 and CEBPB mRNA levels were significantly increased in remodeled human VMSCs. In conclusion, the novel regulation of POU2F2 and CEBPB in VSMCs will help us understand the pathogenesis of hypertension and support the development of future treatments for hypertension.
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- Author: Jang-Yi Chen x
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