Differential effects of eNOS uncoupling on conduit and small arteries in GTP-cyclohydrolase I-deficient hph-1 mice

Livius V. D'Uscio, Leslie A. Smith, Zvonimir S Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


In the present study, we used the hph-1 mouse, which displays GTP-cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH I) deficiency, to test the hypothesis that loss of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in conduit and small arteries activates compensatory mechanisms designed to protect vascular wall from oxidative stress induced by uncoupling of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Both GTPCH I activity and BH 4 levels were reduced in the aortas and small mesenteric arteries of hph-1 mice. However, the BH 4-to-7,8-dihydrobiopterin ratio was significantly reduced only in hph-1 aortas. Furthermore, superoxide anion and 3-nitrotyrosine production were significantly enhanced in aortas but not in small mesenteric arteries of hph-1 mice. In contrast to the aorta, protein expression of copper- and zinc-containing superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD) was significantly increased in small mesenteric arteries of hph-1 mice. Protein expression of catalase was increased in both aortas and small mesenteric arteries of hph-1 mice. Further analysis of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)/cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling demonstrated that protein expression of phosphorylated Ser 1177-eNOS as well as basal cGMP levels and hydrogen peroxide was increased in hph-1 aortas. Increased production of hydrogen peroxide in hph-1 mice aortas appears to be the most likely mechanism responsible for phosphorylation of eNOS and elevation of cGMP. In contrast, upregulation of CuZnSOD and catalase in resistance arteries is sufficient to protect vascular tissue from increased production of reactive oxygen species generated by uncoupling of eNOS. The results of our study suggest that anatomical origin determines the ability of vessel wall to cope with oxidative stress induced by uncoupling of eNOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2227-2234
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011



  • Endothelium
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Superoxide anion
  • Tetrahydrobiopterin
  • Vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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