Rho-kinase mediates hyperglycemia-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expression in vascular endothelial cells.

PMID 15956119


Elevated levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) are associated with myocardial infarction and stroke, especially in patients with diabetes. The induction of PAI-1 expression by hyperglycemia involves oxidative stress and protein kinase C (PKC). However, the mechanism by which hyperglycemia increases PAI-1 expression is unknown. Compared with normoglycemia, exposure of human endothelial cells to hyperglycemia, but not mannitol, increased Rho-kinase activity in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. This increase was inhibited by a PKC inhibitor, GF109203X, and antioxidants N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and reduced form of glutathione (GSH). This correlated with inhibition of hyperglycemia-induced PAI-1 expression by GF109203X, NAC, and GSH. Hyperglycemia-increased PAI-1 mRNA and protein levels were inhibited by Rho-kinase inhibitors hydroxyfasudil and Y27632 and by a dominant-negative mutant of Rho-kinase. The mechanism for this inhibition occurs at the level of gene transcription because Rho-kinase inhibitors repress hyperglycemia-stimulated PAI-1 promoter activity without affecting mRNA stability. Hyperglycemia failed to stimulate Rho-kinase activity and PAI-1 expression in heterozygous ROCK I-knockout murine endothelial cells. Hyperglycemia stimulates Rho-kinase activity via PKC- and oxidative stress-dependent pathways, leading to increased PAI-1 gene transcription. These results suggest that inhibition of ROCK I may be a novel therapeutic target for preventing thromboembolic complications of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.