Vitamins reverse endothelial dysfunction through regulation of eNOS and NAD(P)H oxidase activities.
Hypertension. 2003 Mar;41(3):534-9. Epub 2003 Feb 17. PMID: 12623955
Antioxidant vitamins C and E have protective properties in genetic hypertension associated with enhanced oxidative stress. This study investigated whether vitamins C and/or E modulate vascular function by regulating enzymatic activities of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NAD(P)H oxidase using thoracic aortas of 20- to 22-week-old male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and their matched normotensive counterparts, Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY). SHR aortas had impaired relaxant responses to acetylcholine but not to sodium nitroprusside, despite an approximately 2-fold increase in eNOS activity and NO release. The levels of superoxide anion (O2-), a potent NO scavenger, and NAD(P)H oxidase activity were also 2-fold higher in SHR aortas. Mechanical but not pharmacological inactivation of endothelium (by rubbing and 100 micromol/L L-NAME, respectively) significantly abrogated O2- in both strains. Treatments of SHR aortas with NAD(P)H oxidase inhibitors, namely diphenyleneiodinium and apocynin, significantly diminished O2- production. The incubation of SHR aortas with different concentrations of vitamin C (10 to 100 micromol/L) and specifically with high concentrations of vitamin E (100 micromol/L) improved endothelial function, reduced superoxide production as well as NAD(P)H oxidase activity, and increased eNOS activity and NO generation in SHR aortas to the levels observed in vitamin C- and E-treated WKY aortas. Our results reveal endothelial NAD(P)H oxidase as the major source of vascular O2- in SHR and also show that vitamins C and E are critical in normalizing genetic endothelial dysfunction through regulation of eNOS and NAD(P)H oxidase activities.