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Vascular disease states are associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from vascular NADPH oxidases in both vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and endothelial cells. Recent evidence suggests an important role for VSMC NADPH oxidases in vascular ROS production. However, it is unclear whether increased NADPH oxidase activity in endothelial cells alone is sufficient to alter overall vascular ROS production and hemodynamics. We sought to address these questions using transgenic mice with endothelial-targeted overexpression of the catalytic subunit of NADPH oxidase, Nox2. Aortas of Nox2 transgenic (Nox2-Tg) mice had increased total Nox2 mRNA and protein levels compared with wild-type littermates. Both p22phox mRNA and protein levels were also significantly elevated in Nox2-Tg aortas. Aortic superoxide production was significantly increased in Nox2-Tg mice compared with wild-type, but this difference was abolished by endothelial removal. Superoxide dismutase inhibition increased superoxide release and levels of Mn superoxide dismutase protein were significantly elevated in aortas from Nox2-Tg mice compared with wild type. Increased ROS production from endothelial Nox2 overexpression led to increased endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation in transgenic aortas. Basal blood pressure was similar, however the pressor responses to both acute and chronic angiotensin II administration were significantly increased in Nox2-Tg mice compared with wild type. These results demonstrate that endothelial-targeted Nox2 overexpression is sufficient to increase vascular NADPH oxidase activity, activate downstream signaling pathways, and potentiate the hemodynamic response to angiotensin II, despite compensatory increases in vascular antioxidant enzymes. Endothelial cell Nox2-containing NADPH oxidase plays an important functional role in vascular redox signaling.

Original publication




Journal article


Circ Res

Publication Date





1016 - 1025


Angiotensin II, Animals, Blood Pressure, Blood Vessels, Endothelium, Vascular, Enzyme Activation, Humans, Membrane Glycoproteins, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, NADPH Oxidase 2, NADPH Oxidases, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III, Oxidative Stress, Oxidoreductases, RNA, Messenger, Superoxides, Vasomotor System