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Nitric oxide synthesis-promoting effects of valsartan in human umbilical vein endothelial cells via the Akt/adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase/endothelial nitric oxide synthase pathway

Yingshuai Zhao, Liuyi Wang, Shanshan He, Xiaoyan Wang, Weili Shi


Valsartan (VAL), an antagonist of angiotensin II receptor type 1, has antihypertensive and multiple cardiovascular protective effects. The pleiotropic functions of VAL are related to the increased synthesis and biological activity of intravascular nitric oxide (NO). In this study, the role and mechanisms of VAL in the synthesis of NO were examined in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Ten µmol/L of VAL was used to treat EA.hy926 cells for 30 minutes, 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours, and three concentrations of VAL (i.e., 10, 1, and 0.1 µmol/L) were used to treat EA.hy926 cells for 24 hours. The cells were divided into five groups: control, VAL, VAL + Compound C (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase [AMPK] inhibitor, 1 µmol/L), VAL + LY294002 (Akt [protein kinase B] inhibitor, 10 µmol/L), and VAL + L-nitro-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, endothelial NO synthase [eNOS] inhibitor, 500 µmol/L) groups. The NO content in the VAL-treated HUVEC line (EA.hy926) was detected using the nitrate reductase method, and western blot was used to detect the phosphorylation of Akt, AMPK, and eNOS, as well as the changes in total protein levels. VAL increased NO synthesis in EA.hy926 cells in time- and dose-dependent manners (p < 0.05) and the intracellular phosphorylation levels of Akt, AMPK, and eNOS at the corresponding time points. LY294002, Compound C, and L-NAME could inhibit the VAL-promoted NO synthesis. VAL activated Akt, AMPK, and eNOS, thus promoting NO synthesis and playing a protective role in endothelial cells. These results partially explained the mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular protective effects of VAL.


Valsartan; nitric oxide; protein kinase B; adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase; endothelial nitric oxide synthase

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