Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Cardiovascular Diabetology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Original investigation

Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, restores endothelial function by reducing vascular inflammation and by increasing the phosphorylation ratio Ser1177/Thr497 of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in diabetic mice

Sachiko Matsumoto1, Michio Shimabukuro2*, Daiju Fukuda2, Takeshi Soeki1, Ken Yamakawa3, Hiroaki Masuzaki3 and Masataka Sata1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, The University of Tokushima Graduate School of Health Biosciences, 3-18-15 Kuramoto, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan

2 Department of Cardio-Diabetes Medicine, The University of Tokushima Graduate School of Health Biosciences, 3-18-15 Kuramoto, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan

3 Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Hematology, Rheumatology (Second Department of Internal Medicine), Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:30  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-30

Published: 31 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker (ARB), has a higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors and shows stronger inverse agonism compared to other ARBs. Possible benefits of azilsartan in diabetic vascular dysfunction have not been established.

Methods

We measured vascular reactivity of aortic rings in male KKAy diabetic mice treated with vehicle, 0.005% azilsartan, or 0.005% candesartan cilexetil for 3 weeks. Expression of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress was measured using semiquantitative RT-PCR in the vascular wall, perivascular fat, and skeletal muscle. Phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) at Ser1177 and Thr495 was measured using Western blotting, and the ratio of phosphorylation at Ser1177 to phosphorylation at Thr495 was used as a putative indicator of vascular eNOS activity.

Results

(1) Vascular endothelium–dependent relaxation with acetylcholine in KKAy mice was improved by azilsartan treatment compared to candesartan cilexetil; (2) the ratio of Ser1177/Thr495 phosphorylation of eNOS was impaired in KKAy and was effectively restored by azilsartan; (3) anomalies in the expression levels of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP1), F4/80, NAD(P)H oxidase (Nox) 2, and Nox4 of the aortic wall and in the expression of TNFα in the perivascular fat were strongly attenuated by azilsartan compared to candesartan cilexetil.

Conclusions

These results provide evidence that azilsartan prevents endothelial dysfunction in diabetic mice, more potently than does candesartan cilexetil. Azilsartan’s higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors may underlie its efficacy in diabetic vascular dysfunction via a dual effect on uncoupled eNOS and on Nox.