ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a life-threatening disease lacking effective therapies. Osthole is a natural coumarin compound isolated from Angelica pubescens Maxim., which possesses hypotensive effect. Although its effects on isolated thoracic aorta (systemic circulating system) are clarified, it remains unclear whether Osthole relaxes isolated pulmonary arteries (PAs) (pulmonary circulating system). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Osthole on isolated PAs and the underlying mechanisms. We examined PA relaxation induced by Osthole in isolated human and rat PA rings with force-electricity transducers, the expression and activity of endothelial niric oxide synthase (eNOS) and protein kinase B (Akt) with western blot, and nitric oxide (NO) production using DAF-FM DA fluorescent indicator. The results showed that Osthole elicited a dose-dependent vasorelaxation activity with phenylephrine-precontracted human and rat PA rings, which can be diminished by endothelium denudation and inhibition of eNOS, while having no effect on rat mesenteric arteries. Osthole increased NO release as well as activation of Akt and eNOS, indicated with increased phosphorylations of Akt at Ser-473 and eNOS at Ser-1177 in endothelial cells. PI3K inhibitor LY294002 also blocked Osthole induced vasodilation. In summary, dilative effect of Osthole was dependent on endothelial integrity and NO production, and was mediated by endothelial PI3K/Akt-eNOS-NO pathway. These may provide a new pulmonary vasodilator for the therapy of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
European journal of pharmacology 12/2012; · 2.59 Impact Factor