Am J Pathol 2011 Sep 29;179(3):1549-59. Epub 2011 Jun 29.
Terrence Donnelly Research Laboratories, Division of Cardiology, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Because both endothelin-1 (ET-1) and angiotensin II (AngII) are independent mediators of arterial remodeling, we sought to determine the role of ET receptor inhibition in AngII-accelerated atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm formation. We administered saline or AngII and/or bosentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA) for 7, 14, or 28 days to 6-week- and 6-month-old apolipoprotein E-knockout mice. AngII treatment increased aortic atherosclerosis, which was reduced by ERA. ET-1 immunostaining was localized to macrophage-rich regions in aneurysmal vessels. ERA did not prevent AngII-induced aneurysm formation but instead may have increased aneurysm incidence. In AngII-treated animals with aneurysms, ERA had a profound effect on the non-aneurysmal thoracic aorta via increasing wall thickness, collagen/elastin ratio, wall stiffness, and viscous responses. These observations were confirmed in acute in vitro collagen sheet production models in which ERA inhibited AngII's dose-dependent effect on collagen type 1 α 1 (COL1A1) gene transcription. However, chronic treatment reduced matrix metalloproteinase 2 mRNA expression but enhanced COL3A1, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1), and TIMP-2 mRNA expressions. These data confirm a role for the ET system in AngII-accelerated atherosclerosis but suggest that ERA therapy is not protective against the formation of AngII-induced aneurysms and can paradoxically stimulate a chronic arterial matrix remodeling response.