Leptin attenuates the angiotensin II-induced increase of cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+]i) and vasoconstriction in the aorta of normotensive Wistar rats. To determine whether these effects may be altered in hypertension, we assessed the effect of leptin on angiotensin II-induced vascular response in the aorta of 10-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).
Contractile responses to angiotensin II (100 nmol/l) in the presence of different concentrations of leptin (0.1, 1, 10, 100 nmol/l) were evaluated in isolated aortic rings by the organ bath system. [Ca2+]i was measured in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) using Fura-2 fluorescence. The expression of the short (OB-Ra) and long (OB-Rb) isoforms of the leptin receptor in VSMCs was evaluated by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and western-blot analysis.
Circulating leptin concentrations were increased in SHR. Serum metabolic parameters, including glucose, insulin, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, were also elevated in SHR. Leptin did not modify the angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction in SHR either in intact or endothelium-denuded aortic rings. In addition, leptin was not able either to diminish the angiotensin II-induced the peak rise of [Ca2+]i or to accelerate the recovery rate to basal calcium levels in VSMCs from SHR. However, OB-Ra and OB-Rb mRNA and protein expression were increased in SHR VSMCs.
The lack of effect of leptin on angiotensin II-induced contraction in the aorta of SHR is due to an impaired handling of [Ca2+]i in VSMCs. Hyperleptinemia and overexpression of OB-R in VSMCs could be compensatory mechanisms against VSMC leptin resistance in genetically hypertensive rats.