[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) is known to promote vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-stimulated permeability and angiogenesis. However, effector molecules that operate downstream of NO in this pathway remain poorly characterized. Herein, we determined the effect of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) inhibition on VEGF responses in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of endothelial cells (EC) with VEGF stimulated eNOS phosphorylation and cGMP accumulation; pretreatment with the sGC inhibitor 4H-8-bromo-1,2,4-oxadiazolo(3,4-d)benz(b)(1,4)oxazin-1-one (NS-2028) blunted cGMP levels without affecting VEGF-receptor phosphorylation. Incubation of cells with NS-2028 blocked the mitogenic effects of VEGF. In addition, cells in which sGC was inhibited exhibited no migration and sprouting in response to VEGF. To study the mechanisms through which NS-2028 inhibits EC migration, we determined the effects of alterations in cGMP levels on p38 MAPK. Initially, we observed that inhibition of sGC attenuated VEGF-stimulated activation of p38. In contrast, the addition of 8-Br-cGMP to EC stimulated p38 phosphorylation. The addition of cGMP elevating agents (BAY 41-2272, DETA NO and YC-1) enhanced EC migration. To test whether sGC also mediated the angiogenic effects of VEGF in vivo, we used the rabbit cornea assay. Animals receiving NS-2028 orally displayed a reduced angiogenic response to VEGF. As increased vascular permeability occurs prior to new blood vessel formation, we determined the effect of NS-2028 in vascular leakage. Using a modified Miles assay, we observed that NS-2028 attenuated VEGF-induced permeability. Overall, we provide evidence that sGC mediates the angiogenic and permeability-promoting activities of VEGF, indicating the significance of sGC as a downstream effector of VEGF-triggered responses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) is an ubiquitously expressed enzyme that generates the second messenger cGMP and hence, leads to a number of physiological responses including vasodilation, inhibition of platelet aggregation and neurotransmission. Whilst many activating and stimulating modulators of sGC were identified and studied in recent years, only two selective inhibitors are known: ODQ and NS 2028. Furthermore, a synthetic approach to these inhibitors has not been reported yet. Herein, we describe a novel and efficient synthesis of these inhibitors, as well as the preparation of three different classes of NS 2028 analogues. Biological evaluation of this library using rat aortic smooth muscle cells revealed four new compounds with good to moderate sGC inhibitory activity. Our experiments underline the major importance of the oxadiazole ring in ODQ and NS 2028 for the efficiency of this class of inhibitors.