Objective: An increased number of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which correlated with heme oxygenase-1 gene expression and nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation [flow-mediated dilation (FMD)], has been recently reported by us in Bartter/Gitelman syndromes, rare diseases that represent a human model of endogenous angiotensin (Ang) II type-1 receptor antagonism and depicting an opposite picture of hypertension. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which prevents circulating EPCs senescence and reverses Ang II-induced EPCs senescence is reduced in hypertensive patients, its level is stimulated by heme oxygenase-1 and is related with stimulation of nitric oxide. This study reports on CGRP concentration and heme oxygenase-1 protein level in Bartter/Gitelman syndrome's patients compared with healthy individuals and analyzes their relationships with EPCs [CD34+kinase insert domain receptor (KDR+), CD133+KDR+, CD34+CD133+KDR+) as well as FMD.
Methods and results: CGRP concentration (ELISA) and heme oxygenase-1 protein level (sandwich immunoassay) were higher in Bartter/Gitelman syndrome : 38.20 ± 8.23 pg/ml vs. 25.07 ± 3.51, P < 0.002 and 9.44 ± 3.1 ng/ml vs. 5.52 ± 1.1, P < 0.007, respectively. CD133+KDR+ and CD34+CD133+KDR+ (direct three-color flow cytometry analysis) and FMD (B-mode echo scan of brachial artery) were confirmed higher in Bartter/Gitelman syndrome. CGRP and heme oxygenase-1 strongly correlated (P < 0.0001) and did not differ by group. In Bartter/Gitelman syndrome, both CGRP and heme oxygenase-1 were strongly correlated with both EPCs and FMD.
Conclusions: Using a human model opposite to hypertension, this study provides information on the relationships between CGRP, heme oxygenase-1, FMD, major clinical and biochemical factors involved in cardiovascular disease, and EPC-specific populations and may also serve to confirm the utility of Bartter/Gitelman syndrome patients in delineating EPCs and related factors roles in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular remodeling in humans.