Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

Deletion of angiotensin II type 1 receptor gene or scavenge of superoxide prevents chronic alcohol-induced aortic damage and remodelling.

PMID 22435601


To investigate whether chronic alcohol consumption induces vascular injury via angiotensin II (Ang II) type 1 (AT1) receptor-dependent superoxide generation, male transgenic mice with knockout of AT1 gene (AT1-KO) and age-matched wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice were pair-fed a modified Lieber-DeCarli alcohol or isocaloric maltose dextrin control liquid diet for 2xa0months. Ethanol content (%, W/V) in the diet was 4.8 (34% of total calories) at initiation, and gradually increased up to 5.4 (38% of total calories). For some WT mice with and without alcohol treatment, superoxide dismutase mimetic (MnTMPyP) was given simultaneously by intraperitoneal injection at 5xa0mg/kg body weight daily for 2xa0months. At the end of studies, aortas were harvested for histopathological and immunohistochemical examination. Significant increases in the wall thickness and structural disarrangement of aorta were found in alcohol group, along with significant increases in aortic oxidative and/or nitrosative damage, expressions of NADPH oxidases (NOXs), inflammatory response, cell death and proliferation, and remodelling (fibrosis). However, these pathological changes were completely attenuated in alcohol-treated AT1-KO mice or in alcohol-treated WT mice that were also simultaneously treated with MnTMPyP for 2xa0months. These results suggest that chronic alcohol consumption may activate NOX via Ang II/AT1 receptor, to generate superoxide and associated peroxynitrite that in turn causes aortic nitrosative damage, inflammation, cell death and proliferation, and remodelling. Therefore, blocking Ang II/AT1 system or scavenging superoxide may become a potential preventive and/therapeutic approach to alcoholic vascular damage.