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Effects of sex differences on constitutive nitric oxide synthase expression and activity in response to pressure overload in rats


, : Effects of sex differences on constitutive nitric oxide synthase expression and activity in response to pressure overload in rats. American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 293(5): H2650-8

Clinical studies have documented sex differences in left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy patterns, but the mechanisms are so far poorly defined. This study aimed to determine whether 1) severe pressure overload altered expression and/or activity of cardiac constitutive nitric oxide synthase (NOS1 and NOS3) and 2) these changes were modulated according to sex. Analyses were performed 0.4-20 wk after thoracic aortic constriction (TAC) in male and female Wistar rats. Male rats with TAC exhibited early signs of cardiac dysfunction, as shown by echocardiographic and LV end-diastolic pressure measurements, whereas females with TAC exhibited higher LV hypertrophy (+96% vs. males at 20 wk; P < 0.05). After TAC, cardiac NOS1 expression was rapidly induced (0.4 wk) and stable afterward in males (P < 0.05 vs. sham groups), whereas it was delayed in females. Accordingly, specific NOS1 activity was increased by 2 wk in male rats with TAC (+122%; P < 0.001 vs. sham groups) and only by 20 wk in females (+220%; P < 0.001 vs. sham groups). NOS1 activity was correlated with NOS1 level. Regarding cardiac NOS3, expression was unaffected by TAC, and the decrease in activity observed at early and late times in male and female rats with TAC, respectively, is shown to be related to NOS3 allosteric regulator caveolin-1 level. The data demonstrated a unique sex-dependent regulation of the constitutive NOSs in response to TAC in rats; such a difference might play a role in the sex-dependent adaptability of the heart in response to pressure overload.

US$19.90

PMID: 17890423

DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00883.2007


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