Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.524, No.4, 853-860, 2020
Activation of AMPK/proteasome/MLCK degradation signaling axis by telmisartan inhibits VSMC contractility and vessel contraction
Telmisartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker (ARB), is widely used to treat hypertension. Dysfunction of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) is well-established to contribute to the pathogenesis of various vascular diseases. A growing body of evidence indicates that increased VSMC contractility plays a primary role in the development of pathological artery spasms. Nevertheless, effect of telmisartan on VSMC contractility, and its mechanism of action remain unknown. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which telmisartan inhibits VSMC contractility and vessel contraction in rat VSMCs and endothelium-deprived aortas. Telmisartan inhibited phenylephrine-induced vessel contraction in endothelium-deprived aortas, and decreased myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) levels (without altering corresponding mRNA levels) and myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation at Ser19 (p-MLC-Ser(19)) in VSMCs. MG-132 but not doxycycline significantly restored telmisartan-inhibited MLCK expression and p-MLC-Ser(19). Telmisartan induced AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation at Thr172 (p-AMPK-Thr(172)), and compound C or ectopic expression of the dominant negative (dn)-AMPK alpha 1 gene significantly reversed telmisartan-inhibited MLCK expression and p-MLC-Ser(19). Of the ARBs tested (including losartan and fimasartan), only telmisartan increased p-AMPK-Thr(172), and inhibited MLCK expression and p-MLC-Ser(19). GW9662 had no effects on telmisartan-induced changes. Similar to the in vitro results, telmisartan enhanced p-AMPK-Thr(172), and inhibited MLCK expression and p-MLC-Ser(19) in endothelium-deprived aortas. Furthermore, the telmisartan-inhibited vessel contraction in the aortas was significantly reversed by MG-132 or compound C. In conclusion, we demonstrated that telmisartan inhibits VSMC contractility and vessel contraction by activating AMPK/proteasome/MLCK degradation signaling axis. These results suggest that telmisartan can be used to treat pathological vasospasms. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.