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Redox mechanisms of the beneficial effects of heme oxygenase in hypertension

Chan, Elsa C.a; Dusting, Gregory J.a; Liu, Guei-Sheunga; Jiang, Fanb

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000179

Heme oxygenases, namely heme oxygenase-1 and heme oxygenase-2, have important biological functions in vascular homeostasis. Heme oxygenase and its catabolic products, including bilirubin and carbon monoxide, have been implicated in blood pressure regulation. Increased expression of heme oxygenase exerts multiple protective actions against hypertension-induced vascular injuries. However, the underlining mechanisms of these effects are not entirely clear. We and others have demonstrated that heme oxygenase-1 can modulate production of reactive oxygen species, both in vivo and in vitro, from NADPH oxidase, a major enzymatic source of reactive oxygen species generation in the vascular wall. NADPH oxidase has been implicated in the development of hypertension and hypertension-related organ injuries. In this mini review, we summarize our current understanding of the interactions between heme oxygenase and NADPH oxidase, and we propose that modulation of NADPH oxidase activity by heme oxygenase could be a potential mechanism of the beneficial effects of heme oxygenase in hypertension.

aCentre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

bKey Laboratory of Cardiovascular Remodeling and Function Research, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China

Correspondence to Dr Elsa Chan, Centre for Eye Research Australia, 1/32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia. Tel: +61 3 9288 4018; fax: +61 3 9416 0926; e-mail:

Abbreviations: CAD, coronary arterial disease; DOCA, deoxycorticosterone; DPI, diphenyleneiodonium; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; LPSs, lipopolysaccharides; NOS, nitric oxide synthase; ROS, reactive oxygen species; TNF, tumor necrosis factor

Received 28 June, 2013

Revised 9 November, 2013

Accepted 18 February, 2014

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