Heart and Circulatory Physiology

Dysfunction of endothelium-dependent relaxation to insulin via PKC-mediated GRK2/Akt activation in aortas of ob/ob mice

Kumiko Taguchi, Tsuneo Kobayashi, Takayuki Matsumoto, Katsuo Kamata


In diabetic states, hyperinsulinemia may negatively regulate Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activation. Our main aim was to investigate whether and how insulin might negatively regulate Akt/eNOS activities via G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) in aortas from ob/ob mice. Endothelium-dependent relaxation was measured in aortic rings from ob/ob mice (a type 2 diabetes model). GRK2, β-arrestin2, and Akt/eNOS signaling-pathway protein levels and activities were mainly assayed by Western blotting. Plasma insulin was significantly elevated in ob/ob mice. Insulin-induced relaxation was significantly decreased in the ob/ob aortas [vs. age-matched control (lean) ones]. The response in ob/ob aortas was enhanced by PKC inhibitor or GRK2 inhibitor. Akt (at Thr308) phosphorylation and eNOS (at Ser1177) phosphorylation, and also the β-arrestin2 protein level, were markedly decreased in the membrane fraction of insulin-stimulated ob/ob aortas (vs. insulin-stimulated lean ones). These membrane-fraction expressions were enhanced by GRK2 inhibitor and by PKC inhibitor in the ob/ob group but not in the lean group. PKC activity was much greater in ob/ob than in lean aortas. GRK2 protein and activity levels were increased in ob/ob and were greatly reduced by GRK2 inhibitor or PKC inhibitor pretreatment. These results suggest that in the aorta in diabetic mice with hyperinsulinemia an upregulation of GRK2 and a decrease in β-arrestin2 inhibit insulin-induced stimulation of the Akt/eNOS pathway and that GRK2 overactivation may result from an increase in PKC activity.

  • hyperinsulinemia
  • insulin signaling
  • Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase pathway
  • membrane fraction
  • G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2
  • protein kinase C
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