20-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid causes endothelial dysfunction via eNOS uncoupling

Jennifer Cheng, Jing Song Ou, Harpreet Singh, J R Falck, Dubasi Narsimhaswamy, Kirkwood A. Pritchard, Michal Laniado Schwartzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO), generated from L-arginine by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), is a key endothelial-derived factor whose bioavailability is essential to the normal function of the endothelium. Endothelium dysfunction is characterized by loss of NO bioavailability because of either reduced formation or accelerated degradation of NO. We have recently reported that overexpression of vascular cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 4A in rats caused hypertension and endothelial dysfunction driven by increased production of 20- hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE), a major vasoconstrictor eicosanoid in the microcirculation. To further explore cellular mechanisms underlying CYP4A-20-HETE-driven endothelial dysfunction, the interactions between 20-HETE and the eNOS-NO system were examined in vitro. Addition of 20-HETE to endothelial cells at concentrations as low as 1 nM reduced calcium ionophore-stimulated NO release by 50%. This reduction was associated with a significant increase in superoxide production. The increase in superoxide in response to 20-HETE was prevented by NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, suggesting that uncoupled eNOS is a source of this superoxide. The response to 20-HETE was specific in that 19-HETE did not affect NO or superoxide production, and, in fact, the response to 20-HETE could be competitively antagonized by 19(R)-HETE. 20-HETE had no effect on phosphorylation of eNOS protein at serine-1179 or threonine-497 following addition of calcium ionophore; however, 20-HETE inhibited association of eNOS with 90-kDa heat shock protein (HSP90). In vivo, impaired acetylcholine-induced relaxation in arteries overexpressing CYP4A was associated with a marked reduction in the levels of phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein, an indicator of bioactive NO, that was reversed by inhibition of 20-HETE synthesis or action. Because association of HSP90 with eNOS is critical for eNOS activation and coupled enzyme activity, inhibition of this association by 20-HETE may underlie the mechanism, at least in part, by which increased CYP4A expression and activity cause endothelial dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1018-H1026
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Cytochrome P-450
  • Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • Nitric oxide
  • Superoxide
  • Vascular endothelium
  • Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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